Man jailed one week for punching taxi driver for refusing to help unload luggage

Tan Kok Chuan, 29, who punched a taxi driver on the head for not helping to unload his luggage, was jailed for one week on Thursday (June 9).
Tan Kok Chuan, 29, who punched a taxi driver on the head for not helping to unload his luggage, was jailed for one week on Thursday (June 9).PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A passenger who punched a taxi driver on the head for not helping to unload his luggage was jailed for one week on Thursday (June 9).

Tan Kok Chuan, 29, had admitted to hurting cabby Chia Kok Keong, 56, at a carpark at Jalan Tenaga, off Bedok Reservoir Road, on Oct 13 last year.

That evening, Mr Chia picked Tan up from Changi Airport Terminal 2 and took him to the carpark near Block 651, Jalan Tenaga.

Tan asked Mr Chia to help in unloading his luggage but the cabby declined.

This led to a quarrel and Tan punched Mr Chia on the left side of the head a few times, and Mr Chia fell to the ground.

The police were called and Mr Chia was sent to Changi General Hospital. He was given outpatient treatment for abrasions and bruises over his right elbow and temple. He was given medical leave for three days.

Tan has apologised and made a voluntary compensation of $700 to Mr Chia.

Pleading for leniency, Tan's lawyer, Mr Lai Mun Onn, said his client, a modem tester, and his girlfriend had three suitcases, one of which was very heavy.

After they had unloaded two bags from the boot at Jalan Tenaga, Tan asked the driver to help unload the heavy one but he refused. Mr Chia later agreed in return for a $1 tip but changed his mind.

Mr Lai said Tan then sat at the back of the taxi and tried to persuade Mr Chia. When he failed and got out of the cab, Mr Chia suddenly reversed his vehicle with the door still open, knocking into Tan.

Mr Lai said his client was standing next to the boot when Mr Chia came out. Tan thought that the driver was finally willing to help. Instead, Mr Chia suddenly wanted to close the boot while Tan's hand was still on the boot, Mr Lai added. Tan then committed the offence.

Mr Lai said his client was very remorseful, apologised and also gave Mr Chia a token gift on top of the monetary compensation. He added that Mr Chia has forgiven his client and written a letter, urging the court to give Tan a second chance.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo said the custodial threshold was crossed, but took into account Tan's actions after the incident which showed his genuine remorse.

Tan could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.