Passenger jailed for punching taxi driver after dispute over payment method

Yam Hai Hong was jailed for four weeks on Tuesday (May 23) after admitting to causing bodily pain to Mr Muhammad Hairi Rahiman.
Yam Hai Hong was jailed for four weeks on Tuesday (May 23) after admitting to causing bodily pain to Mr Muhammad Hairi Rahiman.ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A restaurant manager punched a taxi driver on his cheeks and the back of his head eight times in a dispute over the payment method, a court heard.

Yam Hai Hong, 54, was jailed for four weeks on Tuesday (May 23) after admitting to causing bodily pain to Mr Muhammad Hairi Rahiman, 54, at the carpark at Block 483 Admiralty Link at about 5.30am on Oct 9 last year.

Yam also lost his job as a result of the incident.

The court heard Yam got into Mr Hairi's taxi along New Bridge Road and told him to drive to Block 483 Admiralty Link.

At the destination, the victim and Yam had a heated dispute over the payment method as the Mr Hairi was not able to accept payment by NETS.

Yam kept shouting at the taxi driver who threatened to call the police. Both parties then got out of the taxi.

Before the victim could call the police, Yam pushed him and then punched the victim on his cheeks and on the back of his head. This was captured by the vehicle's in-car camera footage.

Yam and Mr Hairi subsequently ended up in a scuffle, during which the victim managed to subdue Yam.

Mr Hairi called the police stating he was hit by a "drunkard passenger" but was not injured.

He later sought medical treatment at a polyclinic for a contusion.

In mitigation, Yam's lawyer A.P. Thirumurthy said when his client boarded the taxi, he had asked if he could pay by NETS and he got an affirmative reply.

He said Yam admitted his folly and regretted what he had done. He said the dispute was not only over the payment method but also, the driver had taken Yam to the wrong block.

Yam, who is unemployed, could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.