Singapore: Murder charges reduced to culpable homicide for father of 11-year-old twin brothers found dead near Upper Bukit Timah playground


Lydia Lam


28 Feb 2023 09:25AM (Updated: 28 Feb 2023 10:13AM)

Xavier Yap Jung Houn is accused of strangling both his 11-year-old sons at a covered canal at Greenridge Crescent Playground in January 2022.

SINGAPORE: A man accused of murdering his 11-year-old twins near a playground in Upper Bukit Timah had his charges reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder on Tuesday (Feb 28).

Xavier Yap Jung Houn, 49, is accused of causing the deaths of his two sons by strangling them at a covered canal at Greenridge Crescent Playground on Jan 21, 2022.

According to the charge sheets, he did so with the intention of causing their deaths.

On Tuesday, a deputy public prosecutor assigned to the case told the court that Yap was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric assessment.

He was found to be suffering from major depressive disorder of moderate severity around the time of the offences.

“The prosecution decided to proceed against him on amended charges of culpable homicide,” said the deputy public prosecutor.

Yap appeared in court via video-link, from where he was remanded. He wore glasses, a dark blue mask and a white shirt. He had a red mark on his neck and appeared to have lost weight.





Bodies of 11-year-old twins found in canal near Upper Bukit Timah playground

The police are investigating the incident as a case of unnatural death.

Osmond Chia, Jean Iau and Ang Qing Updated 16 Mins Ago

SINGAPORE – Police were on the lookout for a man on Friday night (Jan 21) after two children were found dead near a playground in Upper Bukit Timah that same evening, The Straits Times has learnt.

Taxi drivers who received an alert message, which the police confirmed to ST as genuine, were told to be on the alert for a man of unknown race last seen at 3pm that day in Greenridge Crescent.

The bodies of the victims, twin boys aged 11, were said to have been found in a canal near the playground.

The alert, which has since been stood down, described the individual as aged 30 to 40 years old, “tan looking”, in grey shirt and donning sports shoes. ST understands that no arrest has been made as yet.

In a statement on Saturday, the police said they received a call for help on Friday at 6.25pm from the boys’ father who was at a playground in Greenridge Crescent.

When officers arrived at the scene, his 11-year-old sons were found lying motionless in a nearby canal. They were pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.

Police have classified the case as unnatural deaths and investigations are ongoing. 

When ST arrived at the playground at about noon on Saturday, two police vehicles were parked along Greenridge Crescent and officers in plain clothes were spotted speaking to residents around Eng Kong estate.

Officers from the police’s Gurkha contingent were seen walking inside the canal where the bodies were found and also combing the forested area behind the playground.

The canal, which is large and deep, cuts across the playground. What looked like a dozen cushion-like structures were strewn in a section of the canal.

At about 4pm on Saturday, two men and two women turned up in the area to light candles and leave offerings by the canal.

One of the men, identified as Mr Fong Chun Cheong, said that he is a family friend. He added that he is from Singapore Yin Feng Shui Funeral Services and has been engaged by the boys’ mother to help the family with funeral proceedings.

He said the others in the group comprised the boys’ sister, who is in her early 20s, and family friends.

“They just want closure and to be left alone…They just want to have peace,” said Mr Fong, who is a funeral director.

The 40-year-old added that he had met the boys before, describing them as “lively and energetic”. ST understands the twins were children with special needs.

“They were maybe six or seven years old then. I learnt about the incident on Friday and was shocked.” 

According to a text message circulating among neighbours, police officers had approached residents in the area on Friday to secure closed-circuit television footage. 

A domestic worker who lives near the playground said she heard a girl shouting for help at about 6.30pm on Friday.

The helper, who declined to be named, thought it was just children playing. But 15 minutes later, she saw a number of police officers in the area.






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