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The Straits Times
Feb 2, 2023
Supervisors of police full-time national serviceman (NSF) Finnegan Tan Yao Jie were considering barring him from using firearms before the 21-year-old was found dead with a gunshot wound on Aug 30, 2021.
On Wednesday, on the first day of an inquiry into Mr Tan’s death, the court heard that his supervisors at the Special Operations Command (SOC) had considered the ban when they learnt that he had lost money in a scam.
There was also a separate incident some time in the middle of the year, when a colleague heard Mr Tan shouting in a restroom at the SOC base in Queensway that he had almost killed himself the day before.
One of Mr Tan’s supervisors who has training in providing psychological support intervened and spoke to him, a police officer investigating the case said in court. But Mr Tan told the supervisor that it was just an outburst.
He was also supposed to attend a course for a few weeks, during which he would not be armed.
The supervisor concluded that the NSF did not display suicidal thoughts or look depressed. But he was still considering barring Mr Tan from using firearms when the NSF was found dead.
Mr Tan had been upset with himself after losing over $10,000 in a financial scam. The sum included $7,000 he had borrowed from his father.
He eventually made a police report in August 2021, shortly before the shooting.
The investigating officer told State Coroner Adam Nakhoda that Mr Tan had reported for duty at the SOC base on the day of the incident at about 10.30am, and that he was issued with a revolver and live rounds.
When his colleagues heard a gun going off, they assumed that a firearm had been misfired.
But one of them later realised that Mr Tan was missing, and after a search, a group of officers found him in a toilet with a gunshot wound to his head.
They alerted their management. Paramedics who arrived at the scene declared him dead at around 11.20am.
When checking his social media accounts, investigators learnt of his suicidal thoughts.
Mr Tan had stated privately on Instagram that he wanted to die, and that he had, for some time, intended to end his life.
He also made several searches online on matters such as writing a will. He wrote one up, allocating items such as cash to his loved ones.
Before the incident, he had also “out of the blue” asked his sister what she would do if he was no longer around, the investigating officer told the court. She did not probe the matter.
Mr Tan also told a cousin about his suicidal thoughts, the investigating officer said, but the cousin did not think much of it.
The state coroner will give his findings at a later date.
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