SINGAPORE - A 37-year-old man who felt that a pub patron had been disrespectful to a waitress got into a fight with him at a nearby restaurant in January this year, a court heard.
Ker Kian Hwee, a part-time security officer, dragged Mr Ong Hock Wah, 38, a dishwasher, out of the restaurant and the two exchanged punches.
But one of Ker's blows to Mr Ong's head broke his skull and made him fall to the ground unconscious.
Until today, Mr Ong cannot remember the assault due to his brain injuries.
On Friday (June 10), Ker was jailed for nine months after he pleaded guilty to a single charge of causing grievous hurt by doing a rash act to endanger human life.
The maximum punishment for the offence is four years' jail and a fine of $10,000.
A district court heard that at about 11pm on Jan 2, Ker went with two friends, Mr Charlie Tan Chien Meng and Mr Ng Weng Yap, both 37, to E Red Dot pub at 69, Kampong Bahru Road. They met Mr Ong there.
Just before 2am, Ker and his two friends left the pub to eat at Ya-Mahyuddin Al-Jailani Restaurant at 89 Kampong Bahru Road.
After they had ordered their food and drinks and sat at a table, Mr Ong entered the restaurant and joined them.
Ker and Mr Ong quarrelled, the court heard, as Ker felt Mr Ong had been disrespectful to a pub waitress earlier. Ker suddenly slammed the table with his hands and stood up, prompting Mr Ong to also stand up.
Ker then wrapped his arm around Mr Ong's neck and dragged him out of the restaurant. Mr Tan and Mr Ng followed them.
Outside the restaurant, along Blair Road, Mr Ong and Ker traded blows and Mr Ong collapsed to the ground unconscious and bleeding from the left ear.
Ker fled the scene; Mr Tan tried to help Mr Ong to sit up and asked him if he was okay. But the latter stared back blankly and did not respond. Mr Tan then laid him back on the ground.
Shortly afterwards, Ker returned and saw Mr Ong bleeding quite heavily. But Ker, Mr Tan and Mr Ng heard that the police and ambulance were on their way and they fled.
Mr Ong was taken to the Singapore General Hospital. But he went off from the hospital at about 3.50am by taking a taxi home.
When the cab arrived at Block 651A, Jurong West Street 61, Mr Ong got out and walked in an unstable manner before he collapsed in front of the cabbie.
Mr Ong was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in a deep coma. He was found to have a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury, and bleeding in the brain.
He underwent brain surgery and was later transferred for inpatient rehabilitation at the Ang Mo Kio - Thye Hua Kwan Hospital.
As of end May, Mr Ong continued to be cognitively impaired, with severe retrograde amnesia and deficits in short term memory, attention span and processing speed.
He also has difficulty in expressing himself during conversations. He is able to recognise people and faces, but is unaware of the date and time.
He also has difficulties with learning new tasks, such as how to use a mobile phone.
However, he has good insight into his current condition and is able to care for himself at home, although he is unsuited for return back to work.
He is still unable to recall events leading up to his hospitalisation. The retrograde amnesia is likely to be permanent, but Mr Ong is likely to further recover and possibly return to work some time later, the court heard.