By Chong Shin Yen
HE WAS their leader and he told them that they had an important mission.
World War III was coming and their task was to destroy demons and save the world.
But in order to do so, they had to die first and be resurrected as slayers.
The seven teenagers were so convinced by what KuWitaya, 16, said that they agreed to join him in a suicide pact.
Witaya and Sia Chan Hong, also 16, went ahead with the plan to kill themselves.
They jumped out of the window of Witaya's room, fell nine floors and died. But the others, on seeing their bodies, backed out.
Yesterday, these shocking details were revealed at the joint coroner's inquiry into their deaths.
Two members of the group, John, 17, and David, 16, took the stand and related why they had agreed to the suicide pact.
We are not using their real names as there is a court order not to name the surviving members of the pact.
When Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Feng Qian asked David what prompted Witaya to raise this idea, he replied: 'He wanted to prove to others what he believed, (whether) it was the truth or just imagination.'
State Coroner Victor Yeo then asked if the only way to prove Witaya's theory was to commit suicide.
David replied: 'Because there is no other way. It's the reality world... no other way to prove a spiritual thing.'
He added that all of them had hesitated at some point about joining the suicide pact because 'every human fears death'.
David said they eventually gave in because 'all of us wanted to find the evidence of slayers'.
The boys appeared to be so absorbed in Witaya's beliefs that their answers to the court often seemed bizarre.
These are some of the exchanges that took place yesterday:
DPP Ang: How did you all prepare for World War III?
John: Previously we failed a few times... for World War III to come, so we try to work harder at meditating. We spent four hours a day for meditation.
Mr Yeo: So what was supposed to happen after the World War appeared?
John: We would use our bodies to fight demons and everyone can see.
DPP Ang: Why do all of you have to die to fight demons?
John: (So that) more chances to let World War appear. We would go to heaven and don't have to stay on earth to wait for World War to appear.
Mr Yeo: Why do you all want World War to appear?
John: Firstly, to see what we'd been preparing for the past years (come true). This world has changed... a lot of greediness.
DPP Ang: Did Witaya tell you how to prepare yourself to fight the demons?
John: Get ready and try to remember the dream, and to go to sleep at the time given.
DPP Ang: What do you know about the wars and the demons?
John: ...(Gives a blank look)
Mr Yeo: So in the dreams you're supposed to fight the demons?
DPP Ang: What were your feelings with regards to the suicide pact?
John: (giggles) Maybe fun. (giggles again)
Mr Yeo: Can you elaborate (on fun)?
Mr Yeo: You were OK to it?
Mr Yeo: You were not afraid?
John: (shakes his head)
Mr Yeo: Can I ask you why?
John: When you believe in something, you'll just do it.
The court heard that Witaya, a child medium, was the one who came up with the idea.
Witaya, a Secondary Three student, started performing trances about two to three years before the incident.
His grandmother had also performed trances since she was about 30 years old after an accident in which she fell down and broke her arm.
Witaya believed that he could communicate with the 'Gods of Heaven and Hell'.
He would go into trances every Friday and would allow the Gods to possess him.
In early 2006, six of Witaya's friends found out about his 'special abilities' after seeing him in a trance.
Since then, they would meet at Witaya's flat every Friday to conduct rituals and to meditate. Also in the group was Witaya's younger brother.
They treated the place as a temple, which they named Sheng Long Fu (Mandarin for House of the Almighty Dragon) and over time, the group became close.
They agreed to Witaya becoming their leader.
John and David said that after Witaya and Chan Hong fell to their deaths on 23 Aug last year at about 5.30am, they decided to lie to the police.
They agreed to say they had gone for supper and did not know what had happened.
When asked by DPP Ang why they did that, David said: 'We were trying to hide the slayer stuff, because nobody would believe us.'
Three of the boys had also kept diaries, which contained their imaginary thoughts and daily events.
One of the entries was entitled, 'last day'.
After their friends jumped, the boys hid the diaries in the utilities closet outside the flat.
John said: 'If the others read these, they would think we are mentally not there.'
But investigators found inconsistencies in their statements and two days later, the boys decided to come clean.
David explained: 'Because I know that the truth would be out eventually.'
One year after their friends' deaths, how did David and John feel about their beliefs?
John told the court he still believed in Chinese gods, but not in slayers.
Explaining the change, he said: 'After they died, we did not see any evidence (of them becoming slayers to save the world).
As for David, he told the court: '(My) trust faded because there were no results I could see in reality.'
The court heard that some members of the group were avid players of 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' and 'World of Warcraft'.
However, there was no evidence the games had influenced the suicide pact.
The inquiry continues today.
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This article was first published in The New Paper.