Man jailed for slapping and punching ministry officer

Tan Seng Choon was jailed for 24 weeks for assaulting an officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Tan Seng Choon was jailed for 24 weeks for assaulting an officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man was jailed for 24 weeks on Monday (Feb 29) for assaulting a manager from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

Tan Seng Choon, 56, pleaded guilty to slapping Ms Lim Sock Ling, 34, once and punching her 11 times on her face and neck, causing her to suffer contusions over her upper and lower lips, at the MSF Social Service Office at Lorong 6 Toa Payoh on Nov 6 last year.

A district court heard that Tan went to the MSF office that day to apply for financial aid.

During an interview, Ms Lim noticed large withdrawals had been made from his bank account and asked where the money had gone to.

He became agitated and started to gesticulate forcefully. He asserted that he had lent the money to his friends, but was unable to produce any supporting document.

Ms Lim remained calm throughout, and offered no provocation to Tan.

Suddenly, Tan sprung up from his chair and slapped Ms Lim once forcefully on her cheek, causing her spectacles to be dislodged.

He then walked over to her side of the table, and punched her squarely on her face. She screamed in pain, backed into the corner and tried to ward off his blows.

But he continued moving towards her and repeatedly threw punches at her face.

Some of the punches missed her face and landed on her neck instead. In all, he punched her 11 times.

Upon hearing her screams, Ms Lim's colleague rushed in and separated Tan from Ms Lim. He asked Ms Lim to leave the room and tried to placate Tan. Two other MSF staff entered the room and tried to mediate the situation.

Police came and arrested Tan. Ms Lim was taken to Changi General Hospital for treatment and was given four days of medical leave.

Tan admitted that he had punched the victim out of anger. He stated that he was upset because the victim did not believe he had lent the sums of money to his friends.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for causing hurt to a public servant in the discharge of her duty.