Norwegian jailed 10 weeks for choking taxi driver

Arne Corneliussen, 50, had admitted to causing hurt to Mr Chan Chuan Heng at the intersection of Circular Road and North Canal Road at about 1am on Sept 22 last year. - ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN 
Arne Corneliussen, 50, had admitted to causing hurt to Mr Chan Chuan Heng at the intersection of Circular Road and North Canal Road at about 1am on Sept 22 last year. - ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN 

SINGAPORE - A Norwegian national was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Wednesday for choking a taxi driver.

Arne Corneliussen, 50, had admitted to causing hurt to Mr Chan Chuan Heng at the intersection of Circular Road and North Canal Road at about 1am on Sept 22 last year.

The court heard that Corneliussen, a Singapore permanent resident, had just finished a night of drinking at Clarke Quay when he spotted the 46-year-old's taxi.

Just as Corneliussen was about to board the cab, Mr Chan told him he needed to go to the toilet and would not be able to take any passengers.

Corneliussen slapped him. He then chased the victim and pinned him down and began strangling him for about 15 seconds.

Two men separated him and noticed that Mr Chan was out of breath.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong had said Mr Chan was a public transport worker who had a right to work in a safe environment. He added that Corneliussen, who had consumed seven pints of beer that evening, was intoxicated when he carried out the "sustained and brutish attack".

On Wednesday, Corneliussen said he was very sorry for his actions, and for the pain and hurt to the victim and his family. He has paid $30,000 to compensate the victim.

He said what he had done was "totally out of character". He also said he was terminated by his former employer last December. He was a director of programme management at DHL Express.

District Judge Lim Tse Haw said in his oral grounds there was no place in society for such thuggish behaviour. He agreed that the attack was totally unprovoked and sustained.

"After having slapped the victim, you did not stop there. Instead, you chased after the victim, not once but twice, and when the victim fell during the second chase, you went on to strangle the neck for 15 seconds before two good Samaritans came to the victim's rescue by pulling you away," he said.

That, he said, was clearly an aggravating factor.

Corneliussen could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing hurt.