Lest We Forget

DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BORNEO BULLETIN ARCHIVES

Compiled by Chan Chee Khiong

Car stolen on test drive

Liza Mohamad

What was meant to be a test drive of a used car turned into a manhunt for the driver as he drove off with the car and never returned.

The incident unfolded yesterday at a used car dealer in Kampong Pandan in Kuala Belait. The man, believed to be in his 20s, asked to take a used Subaru WRX vehicle for a test drive, sped off the compound and never returned.

The man went to the second-hand auto dealer in the Kampong Pandan shophouse commercial area at about 1pm and asked to drive a silver colour Subaru WRX, 2003 model, which was parked outside the business premises.

According to the used car company manager, the culprit called the salesgirl to accompany him to the car as he expressed his interest in the Subaru vehicle and wanted to take it on a test drive by himself.

The salesgirl handed the keys and told him that he could only take the car for a test drive within the shophouse area. The salesgirl then waited for him to return for over 30 minutes, but he never came back. At about 3pm, the second-hand auto dealer filed a police report.

The man taking the vehicle for a test drive but never returned. PHOTO: LIZA MOHAMAD

5 perish in bus tragedy

Jacky Lim & Abdul Khalik Saifulrijal

SEPTEMBER 24, 2001 – In a tragic road accident, the Sultanate’s worst in recent memory, five people including two Bruneians died as a government vehicle carrying Asean Youth programme officials collided with a saloon car at Jalan Sungai Akar yesterday morning.

A 26-year-old Japanese woman, an administrative staff of Nippon Maru Youth Ship, as well as National leaders of Malaysian and Indonesian delegations were the other three who died in the horrific crash.

Within a few hours of the tragedy, the caring ruler, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam paid a visit to RIPAS hospital to comfort the families of the dead and the survivors of the tragedy.

His Majesty considered the accident a tragedy, RTB reported. The ruler expressed his condolences to the families of the dead and to those who suffered injuries. His Majesty prayed for their speedy recovery.

The caring ruler also announced that all medical expenses incurred by the accident victims at Raja Ister Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) hospital would be borne by His Majesty’s Government, including the transportation costs of sending the bodies of those who died to their respective countries.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Dato Haji Awang Hussain and Minister of Education cum Acting Minister of Health Pehin Dato Haji Awang Abdul Aziz and other senior government officials also visited the survivors of the mishap in Wards 7, 8, 9, Accident and Emergency room and Surgical ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

Fire department personnel pull out the injured from the vehicles. PHOTO: RUDOLF PORTILLO

The tragic accident happened yesterday morning when a bus (government vehicle) carrying 11 Asean Youth leaders and three Brunei officials collided with a saloon car at Jalan Sungai Akar.

One of the survivors, a Vietnamese official, alleged that the driver of the bus drove past the red light and hit the car.

Another local victim said, “I really had no idea how the whole tragedy happened, I lost consciousness and when I woke up I was in the hospital.”

The bus was carrying a number of delegates who had arrived in the Sultanate by sea on Saturday for the 28th Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SEAYP). Brunei Darussalam was the second stop for them after the Philippines.

The nine survivors are reported to be in stable condition and are currently undergoing treatment at RIPAS hospital.

The deceased are: National leader of the Malaysian delegation Jamdin Haji Ramli, national leader of the Indonesian delegation Kamaluddin Said, Administrative staff of Nippon Maru Youth Ship Sinohara Akiko, Officer of the Department of Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam Tamrin bin Ibrahim and driver of the Department of Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam Jeraee Yan.

The bus was on its way to the Indoor Stadium where the officials were expected to attend the ‘Homestay Matching Ceremony’. Due to the tragedy the ceremony was cancelled.

One of the elderly passengers of the saloon car is still in a critical condition and is under close observation according to a nurse at the Surgical ICU while the woman driver of the car is in a stable condition.

According to the Fire Services Department, the distress called was received at 9.46am and three fire engines and 18 personnel rushed to the scene.

Yesterday, the Accident and Emergency room at RIPAS hospital, was packed with delegates from the SEAYP, families and relatives of the victims, officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and police.

It was a heart-rending scene to see many sob uncontrollably. One of Brunei’s ex-foster parent told the Bulletin that the deceased Japanese woman, Sinohara Akiko, was her adopted child when she was here in 1996. “She was an energetic, young and smart girl,” she said.

Counsellor of Deputy Chief of Mission from the Japan Embassy in Brunei Hiroharu Hashi was also at the Accident and Emergency room. He expressed his condolence to the family members of the deceased.

He said, “All activities of the 28th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme in Brunei will be cancelled.”

The Nippon Maru Youth Ship is expected to leave Brunei on September 25 to Vietnam. “Vietnam is the next destination of the 28th SEAYP. But due to this tragedy the next stop is still under consideration,” he said.