Man fined $4,000 for damaging taxi windscreen

SINGAPORE - A man used his sling bag to strike the rear windscreen of a taxi and cracked it, after the driver indicated his vehicle was not for hire.

On Wednesday, Malaysian Woon Chin Yee, 37, who is self-employed, was fined $4,000 after he admitted to committing mischief along River Valley Road at about 4am on July 13 last year. The damage cost $1,157.

A court heard that taxi driver Tan Ngiap Yeng, 42, was driving along River Valley Road in front of Clarke Quay Bungee when Woon, who is a Singapore permanent resident, and his friend tried to board it. He waved at them to signal that his taxi was not for hire and drove away slowly.

Woon, who was trying to board the taxi, released his hand on the taxi's passenger door as Mr Tan drove away. He then struck the rear window several times with his sling bag till it cracked.

Mr Tan heard several knocking sounds and pulled over to check. When he saw the windscreen was smashed, he shouted: "Who is going to pay for the damage?"

Woon replied: "not my problem, not my problem."

Mr Tan then sought help to call the police and prevented Woon and his friend from leaving when they tried to board another taxi.

Woon had consumed alcohol at a pub and a wedding which he attended before the offence, the court heard.

Lawyer David Ng said in mitigation that his client, who helps his family business in property investment in Johor, had overreacted and was impulsive. He said Woon deeply regretted his moment of folly, adding that what he did was totally out of line with his character.

Woon, a University of Washington graduate, compensated TransCab and will pay the taxi driver $193 for lost income and rental cost of the taxi, he added.

Woon could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for mischief.

elena@sph.com.sg