Full-time National Serviceman gets 18 months probation for assaulting taxi driver

SINGAPORE - A youth who assaulted a 52-year-old taxi driver in a row over his fare was sentenced to 18 months probation on Wednesday.

Eugene Yap Siang pushed over Mr Rajadorai Doraisamy, sat on his chest and punched him in the head in September 2013.

Now 21 and serving his full-time National Service, Yap was also ordered to perform 120 hours of community service. He must also stay indoors from 10pm to 6am, although he will not have to wear an electronic tag.

The court heard how Yap had spent six hours drinking with friends in Clarke Quay when he a caught a cab to Jalan Rajah at 5am.

After his friend alighted, he realised he did not have enough money with him and paid his fare using NETS before a dispute arose with the cabby.

In the scuffle that ensued, Yap grabbed Mr Rajadorai's jacket, covered his face with it then pushed him to the ground, causing both of them to fall down a slope.

Yap then pinned Mr Rajadorai down, sat on his chest and punched him in the head.

Mr Rajadorai broke free, but his mobile phone was damaged during the scuffle. He received outpatient treatment at Tan Tock Seng hospital and was given three days of sick leave.

A probation suitability report submitted to the court recommended a probation period of 12 months, 120 hours of community service and a curfew.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim, however, urged District Judge Ong Hian Sun to impose a 24 month-long probation, electronic tagging and 200 hours of community service. He also asked that Yap be made to attend anger management counselling sessions at his expense.

The DPP urged the court to consider "the weighty public interest considerations in deterring violence against public transport workers".

For voluntarily causing hurt, Yap, who will is due to complete his full-time National Service in December, could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

A charge of taking part in a fight in front of a club in Orchard Road at around 5am last June was taken into consideration in sentencing.