Man gets 4 weeks for assault on cyclist for 'taking up road space'

Annoyed with four cyclists for taking up an entire lane, Derrick Chin Fook Heng drove in front of them and slowed down, flying into a rage when one of them, sales director Lee Meng Choon, tried to overtake him. Chin later punched Mr Lee's face.

Chin, a technician, was jailed for four weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to causing hurt to Mr Lee, 36, along Woodlands Road towards Bukit Panjang at around noon on June 19 last year.

One count of mischief was taken into consideration.

Chin, 39, was driving on the two-lane road with his wife when he saw the cyclists on the left lane. Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay said he then drove in front of them and slowed down.

When Mr Lee tried to overtake the car on his right, Chin wound down his window and berated the cyclist.

They quarrelled and Chin edged his car towards the cyclist's right, causing Mr Lee to move slowly towards the right lane and kerb.

Chin then cut across the cyclist's path diagonally and braked, forcing Mr Lee to stop.

 
 

"The accused wound down his car window and told (Mr Lee) that this was not his father's road and that since (Mr Lee) did not pay road tax, (he) should not be cycling and taking up the road space," said DPP Tay.

"The accused attempted to alight from his car. However, (Mr Lee) placed his hand on the driver's door to prevent the accused from opening the door as he thought that the accused would attack him."

Chin punched the right side of Mr Lee's face through the open window and forcefully opened the door. It hit the cyclist's leg and he fell.

Chin got out of his car and hurled vulgarities at the cyclist. He also grabbed Mr Lee's bike and flung it onto the ground, causing about $1,000 in damage.

The other cyclists told Chin to stop and leave but he refused.

Instead, he challenged Mr Lee to a fight and kicked a road barrier in a show of strength.

One of the cyclists tried to snap a photo of the incident, but Chin snatched her mobile phone and threatened to throw it onto the ground.

Chin's wife managed to calm him down and he returned the phone before driving away.

Mr Lee, who suffered superficial injuries to his arms and legs, alerted the police.

He did not seek medical attention, the court heard.

DPP Tay said Chin has since given Mr Lee $1,000 as compensation for damaging his bicycle.

For assaulting the cyclist, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'Man gets 4 weeks for assault on cyclist for 'taking up road space''. Print Edition | Subscribe