Singapore asks Silviu Ionescu to return for investigation

Former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu should return to Singapore to attend a coroner’s inquiry into the death of a hit-and-run victim as it is ‘in his interest’ to do so, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman on Friday, quoted by Straits Times. He can can then put his version before the coroner at the inquest into Tong Kok Wai’s death or appoint a lawyer to represent him.

The Singapore Foreign Ministry issued this statement after Ionescu – former charge d’affaires with the Romanian Embassy – said it is unlikely he would return to Asia, after learning from media that he is suspect. He strongly denied being involved in the accident that killed one and injured two in Bukit Panjang.

On 15 December 2009, a car belonging to the Romanian Embassy to Singapore – a black Audi A6 – hit three pedestrians, around 3.10 AM local time (December 14, at 9.10 PM Bucharest time), in the suburban area of Bukit Panjang. One of the victims, Tong Kok Wai, aged 30, suffered a severe head trauma and died on Christmas Day, while the other two victims sustained non-fatal injuries.

Initially, the Romanian diplomat said the car had been stolen earlier and he only saw this on December 15 at 3.00 AM, when he reported the theft to Police. The vehicle was later found abandoned in an industrial district, after being involved in two road accidents.

Meanwhile, on January 5, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) asked the Prosecutor’s Office- the Criminal Investigation Department to probe into the accident and send the results to court. The same day, MAE recalled Silviu Ionescu from his charge d’affaires position in Singapore. Prosecutors put Ionescu under investigation, and judiciary sources told MEDIAFAX the diplomat was summoned for hearings and was informed about the accusations.

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