Do more to protect good Samaritans

What Mr Muhammad Hanafie Ali Mahmood did by intervening and defending the victim in a bullying incident is commendable ("Shanmugam lauds man who stood up to bully"; July 16).

However, he was lucky.

The outcome might have been different if the aggressor felt humiliated and turned on Mr Hanafie instead.

If there was no actual violence committed, the police would likely advise both parties to "keep the peace".

Imagine the indignity of being treated as one of the troublemakers when what he did was try to protect someone from being bullied.

If there was a fight and Mr Hanafie had been injured, there might be little recourse for him, especially if the injuries are not serious.

If, in the process of defending himself in a fight, Mr Hanafie accidentally injured the aggressor, he may end up in jail, with the aggressor appearing as the victim.

This was the case when retiree Wong Shih Cher got into an argument with a train commuter who refused to give up his seat to an elderly woman ("Retiree jailed for attacking commuter"; July 18).

The possibility of being confronted with hooligan behaviour may be a reason most bystanders are not prepared to step forward to help others.

I hope the authorities will come up with more coherent and consistent policies to protect innocent good Samaritans.

This will encourage the public to stand up to bullies and unreasonable or aggressive people.

Ho Hoe Theng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Do more to protect good Samaritans'. Print Edition | Subscribe