Jail for man who vomited in taxi, then hit cabby

Gary Goh Koon Wei, 26, was jailed five weeks and ordered to pay compensation of $108 to the driver.
Gary Goh Koon Wei, 26, was jailed five weeks and ordered to pay compensation of $108 to the driver.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

He kicked, taunted driver after he was asked if he would pay cost of cleaning cab

A man vomited in a taxi and then attacked the driver, who wanted to know if he would pay for the cost of cleaning the vehicle, a court heard yesterday.

Gary Goh Koon Wei, 26, unemployed, was jailed for five weeks and ordered to pay compensation of $108 to the driver after admitting to kicking Mr Alex Ng Keng Tiong, 41, on July 11, 2014.

Two other charges - spitting twice at Mr Ng and using abusive and insulting words - were considered during his sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said that the night before, Goh had attended his university commencement ceremony and graduation dinner.

Afterwards, he went with his girlfriend and some friends to the Wine Bar at Zouk nightclub, where he drank alcohol.

At about 1am, the couple boarded Mr Ng's TransCab taxi.

During the journey, Goh vomited in the taxi. Mr Ng stopped and passed a plastic bag to Goh's girlfriend before continuing to drive.

He asked them whether they were going to pay for the cost of cleaning the taxi but received no response.

Arriving at their destination in Choa Chu Kang Central, Goh's girlfriend paid the taxi fare.

Mr Ng then turned around and asked the couple again if they were going to pay for the cost of cleaning his vehicle.

At that, Goh tried to punch Mr Ng, who blocked him with his arms. He tried to push Goh back and Goh kicked the cabby in the face.

Mr Ng managed to grab Goh's leg and hold it down.

Eventually, all three got out of the taxi.

Still in a rage, Goh went to the driver's side, where he cornered Mr Ng at the door and taunted him. Mr Ng pressed the emergency button of the taxi and called the police.

Meanwhile, Goh took a $50 note and threw it at Mr Ng, who recorded parts of the taunts on his mobile phone.

Seeming to change his mind, Goh then picked up the $50 and walked to the lift lobby of Block 210. Mr Ng followed him and told him to wait for the police, at which Goh turned around to confront him and taunt him again.

In his submissions on sentencing, DPP Chua highlighted aggravating factors such as Goh's appalling behaviour towards the victim and his intoxication.

He said a strong message had to be sent that the courts would not tolerate assaults on public transport workers, and that offenders could expect a higher sentence if their conduct was particularly brazen, abusive and degrading.

Goh could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2016, with the headline 'Jail for man who vomited in taxi, then hit cabby'. Print Edition | Subscribe