SINGAPORE - A bank associate being sued for over $350,000 for personal injury by his former girlfriend was on Wednesday (May 4) fined $5,000 after he pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting her.
Lim Kwang Wei, 31, also admitted to three other charges of causing hurt, which were taken into consideration in sentencing.
A district court heard he had been picked up by Ms Geraldine Ong Tze-Yin, 28, a lawyer, in his car in the early hours of Oct 6, 2012. While along the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), they got into a quarrel.
At about 1.10am, Lim hit and punched Ms Ong's head, and slapped her face once. She then stopped on the road shoulder in the tunnel towards Tampines Expressway.
Lim got out and walked along the road shoulder. Ms Ong then drove the car forward into his path, scraping the car against the tunnel's wall, to prevent him from walking away. Lim slapped her face several times through the car's open window.
Later, at about 1.35am, Lim stepped onto the safety platform, which runs along the tunnel wall. Ms Ong grabbed his shirt and refused to let go. Lim slapped her face multiple times, hitting her left ear. She heard a ringing sound in that ear and later lost consciousness - something which had happened a few times before when she quarrelled with Lim, he said.
Shortly after, a traffic police officer found her conscious and alert. Her face was red and her upper lips were swollen. She said her ear was in pain and she had difficulty hearing. Lim had scratches on his arms and face, and admitted to hitting her.
As the keys to his car were lost during the fight, a tow truck driver sent the couple to a public hospital.
Ms Ong went to a private hospital and was found to have a torn ear drum. She had surgery, and her hearing is slightly reduced in the left ear.
Lim had also assaulted Ms Ong while she was staying over at his Dunearn Close home in the early hours of July 5, 2012.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua asked for the maximum fine of $5,000, while Lim's lawyer Mr Wendell Wong asked for probation or a community service order.
In Lim's mitigation plea, Mr Wong said: "This is a case of young love that brought out the worst in the couple who was in a committed relationships."
In their 14 months together, Mr Wong told the court, the couple had a tumultuous relationship. Ms Ong was easily jealous and would often check Lim's phone. She also often accused him of cheating on her, and their relationship became emotionally and verbally abusive, Mr Wong said.
Ms Wong would also get physical with Lim when they fought, he said, adding that the Oct 6, 2012 incident arose because she had again accused Lim of cheating on her.
The lawyer added that Ms Ong spent beyond her means and racked up credit card bills in the thousands of dollars. Out of love, Lim lent her money and paid for many of her bills on the understanding that she would later repay him, he said.
In 2013, after police investigations into the Oct 6, 2012 incident started, Ms Ong "motivated by greed" demanded $1.8 million from Lim, Mr Wong said. The couple broke up in February 2013.
But just hours after the Oct 2012 incident, the couple went to watch a play together. She had also repeatedly apologised to him for her behaviour in the KPE tunnel, via text messages earlier that afternoon.
Lim had, instead, offered Ms Ong a composition fee of $20,000, which she rejected.
Ms Ong started a civil suit against Lim to claim over $350,000 for medical expenses and general damages for pain and suffering. But according to Mr Wong, the amount is also grossly inflated, compared to past personal injury cases.
Lim could have been jailed for two years and fined $5,000 for each charge of causing hurt.
The civil suit brought against him by Ms Ong, who is believed to be working in London, has been scheduled for next year.
Lim has made a police complaint against Ms Ong for extortion, among other things, with detailed text conversations and transcripts of recorded conversations, which Mr Wong submitted to the court.