KTV supervisor jailed 2 weeks for punching taxi driver

SINGAPORE - A KTV club supervisor who punched a taxi driver in the face was jailed for 14 days on Thursday.

Lee Kia Chew, alias Yap Kia Hew, 61, pleaded guilty to causing hurt to Mr Kok Lee Long, 49, at Hougang Avenue 2 at about 4am on July 15, 2012.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh told the court that Lee and his friend, who was unidentified, boarded the victim's taxi at about 3.30am that day outside his workplace, Pebbles KTV Club, at Aliwal Street.

The victim was directed to go to Hougang Avenue 10 followed by Sengkang.

While the victim was driving to Hougang Avenue 10, Lee became unhappy and claimed that the victim had taken a longer route.

Mr Kok replied that if Mr Lee was unhappy, he could complain to the taxi company.

Lee got agitated and wanted to alight from the taxi.

When the taxi stopped along Hougang Avenue 10, Lee paid the fare.

While all the parties were still inside the taxi, Lee punched the victim's face repeatedly The victim grabbed his arms to stop the assault, but Lee continued punching him. His friend also joined in the assault.

Mr Kok managed to get help from a fellow taxi driver and later lodged a police report. He was treated at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for left eye blunt trauma and given seven days' medical leave.

Lee's lawyer Raphael Louis said in mitigation that his client was "unjustifiably provoked and insulted" by the taxi driver's continual grumble against Lee.

But Ms Koh countered that there was no provocation. She said Lee was the one who had resorted to violence by throwing a punch at the victim.

"He has reacted entirely disproportionately, and even if the accused perceived some form of provocation from the victim, this alleged provocation would have been merely verbal and wholly insufficient to warrant such a reaction,'' she said.

District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid agreed with the prosecution that public transport workers need to be protected from violence. At the same time, he said they should conduct themselves professionally. Lee could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.