Coffee shop dishwasher jailed 30 months for pouring corrosive substance on dish collector

Dishwasher Lim Yeow Heng, 62, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to a single charge of causing hurt by a corrosive substance.
Dishwasher Lim Yeow Heng, 62, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to a single charge of causing hurt by a corrosive substance.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Dishwasher Lim Yeow Heng, 62, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to a single charge of causing hurt by a corrosive substance.
Dishwasher Lim Yeow Heng, 62, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to a single charge of causing hurt by a corrosive substance.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Unhappy that a coffee shop dish collector was having a meal and drinking with a friend instead of working, a dishwasher poured a corrosive mixture of soda powder and water on him "to teach the victim a lesson", a court heard.

The 65-year-old dish collector suffered chemical burns to 23 per cent of his body, including to his face, scalp and neck.

He spent over a month in hospital, and was left with impaired vision and now has to use a wheelchair.

On Wednesday (March 2), dishwasher Lim Yeow Heng,62, was jailed for 30 months for the attack on Mr Tan Kah Chee, which took place at Tai Hwa Eating House at Block 464 Crawford Lane on April 5, 2015.

He pleaded guilty to a single charge of causing hurt by a corrosive substance.

A district court heard that Lim started work at the coffee shop in May 2014, and got to know Mr Tan, who was a regular customer there.

The next month, Mr Tan told Lim he was looking for a job, and the latter managed to secure him a job as a dish collector at the coffee shop.

On April 5, 2015, at about 8.30pm, Lim saw Mr Tan having a meal and drinking with a friend, when he was supposed to be working.

Lim was unhappy that he had to work while Mr Tan took a break. He knew that the latter was bigger in size than him, and that he would lose if he was to fight with Mr Tan, the court heard. So he decided to throw a mixture of soda powder and water at him instead.

Lim went to the dishwashing bay to take some soda powder and mixed it with water in a container, then walked over to where Mr Tan was sitting and poured the mixture over his back.

Mr Tan was taken to the Singapore General Hospital by ambulance and admitted to the hospital's Burns Centre.

He underwent multiple operations and developed a blood infection during his month-long stay there. He also had to go through in-patient rehabilitation with physiotherapists.

The maximum penalty for voluntarily causing hurt by means of a corrosive substance is seven years' jail and a fine and caning. Those above 50 cannot be caned.