Motorist jailed 4 weeks for kicking cabby in the chest

SINGAPORE - A defence executive officer who kicked a taxi driver in the chest was jailed for four weeks on Thursday for voluntarily causing hurt.

Chia Liang Hoe, 63, was found guilty after a nine-day trial last November of attacking Mr Lok Heng Leong, 45, at Block 158A Rivervale Crescent in Sengkang on Nov 3, 2012.

Mr Lok had testified that he was driving along the two-lane Rivervale Drive enroute to pick up a passenger when he sounded the horn at Chia, who had encroached into his lane.

He drove on and made a right turn at the junction ahead towards Block 158A Rivervale Crescent to pick up his passenger.

While waiting in the taxi at the block, Chia's car pulled alongside his. Chia, whose wife and son were in the car, got down and shouted at Mr Lok.

Chia claimed that the victim had pointed his middle finger at him, but this was denied. He then told Mr Lok to wind down his window. He was joined by his wife and son who had also gotten out of the car.

Mr Lok, who felt anxious and frightened, then took out his mobile phone to take pictures and record the incident. A heated exchange ensued.

Chia then walked to the front left passenger door of the taxi, opened the door and tried to kick the cabby but missed. He then grabbed onto the outer frame of the taxi with both hands and delivered a kick. It landed on the victim's left chest area.

An off-duty cop heard the commotion and came down to intervene. Another eye witness testified that he saw a car and taxi at the scene and the "car driver came down to fight".

In convicting Chia earlier, District Judge Brenda Tan said she accepted Mr Lok's testimony and found that his evidence was substantiated materially by the testimony of independent eye witness Olsen Ho. She said although Mr Ho might not have seen the kick, it was enough that he saw Chia extending a kick towards Mr Lok.

On Thursday, the judge noted that Chia had opened the front passenger door not to talk to the victim, but "invaded into the sanctuary" of the victim to attack him.

"These are aggressive acts which are disproportionate to any perceived provocation, and clearly warrant a sentence beyond a fine," she said.

Chia could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for the offence.

elena@sph.com.sg