Passenger jailed six weeks for assaulting cabby

Mr Lim (above) said Zheng (left) was "reeking of alcohol" when he picked him up and was not certain of where he wanted to go.
Mr Lim said Zheng (above) was "reeking of alcohol" when he picked him up and was not certain of where he wanted to go.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Mr Lim (above) said Zheng (left) was "reeking of alcohol" when he picked him up and was not certain of where he wanted to go.
Mr Lim (above) said Zheng was "reeking of alcohol" when he picked him up and was not certain of where he wanted to go.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Supervisor made driver go to three places, then refused to pay fare and attacked victim

A taxi passenger who punched his driver in the face and then grabbed him by the neck when asked to pay his taxi fare was jailed for six weeks yesterday.

Cabby Lim Siang Yu, 58, said Zheng Weimin, 53, was "reeking of alcohol" when he picked him up and was not certain where he wanted to go.

After visiting three different locations, the passenger still had no end in mind. So Mr Lim stopped the taxi and asked Zheng for the fare.

Zheng then attacked him, leaving him with a small cut over his lip and abrasions.

Zheng, a supervisor with a construction company, was convicted after a three-day trial by District Judge Lim Tse Haw.

He denied hurting the cabby near the junction between Kallang Pudding Road and Tannery Road just before 1.30am on Oct 26 last year.

Mr Lim had testified in July that he picked up Zheng in Joo Chiat Road and drove him to Sims Drive, Upper Aljunied Road and Kallang Pudding Road - all at Zheng's request.

When Zheng remained undecided about where he was going, Mr Lim stopped his taxi after Tannery Road and asked Zheng for the fare.

"He started shouting and said I did not take him to the place he wanted to go," he said.

"Suddenly, I felt pain in my head. I felt a punch on my mouth."

Zheng left without paying but Mr Lim got out, stopped him on the roadside and asked him for the money.

Zheng then grabbed the cabby by his neck and both fell on the pavement. Another taxi driver pulled over to stop Zheng from attacking Mr Lim further.

Urging the court to impose a six- to nine-week jail sentence, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shen Wanqin argued that Zheng had perpetuated an unprovoked and unwarranted assault against a public transport worker.

When asked to mitigate, Zheng still maintained his innocence but the court reminded him that he had been found guilty.

He then said he was facing financial difficulties.

Judge Lim agreed with the prosecution that the attack was totally unprovoked.

"After punching the victim, you had also grabbed his neck and wrestled him to the floor,'' he said.

Zheng, who had two convictions for disorderly behaviour, could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Passenger jailed six weeks for assaulting cabby'. Print Edition | Subscribe