Passenger sentenced to jail for 1 month and 2 weeks for attacking two taxi drivers

Tore Robech requested to be taken to Nostalgia Hotel, which was misheard by the cabby as Costa Rica Hotel.
Tore Robech requested to be taken to Nostalgia Hotel, which was misheard by the cabby as Costa Rica Hotel.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - An inebriated Norwegian national punched a taxi driver on the cheek and delivered a kick through the taxi window after a dispute over his intended destination.

When another taxi driver saw the assault on Mr Foo Chai Teng, 51, he went to help.

By then, police officers were attending to the parties at the scene.

Real estate agent Tore Robech, 43, was still aggressive and wanted to confront both Mr Foo and Mr Jumaidig Mohamed Siti, 33.

He suddenly picked up his shoe and threw it in the direction of Mr Jumaidig's taxi, scraping paint off the front passenger door.

When Mr Jumaidig approached Robech, Robech rushed towards him and kicked him once in the chest, causing the cabby to fall back against his taxi.

On Monday (Oct 16), Robech was sentenced to one month and two weeks in jail after he admitted to causing hurt to both victims at Orchard Towers in the early hours of July 20.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling told District Judge Adam Nakhoda that a police officer was patrolling near Orchard Towers at 2.55am that day when he saw Mr Foo holding on to Robech's leg through the window of the driver's seat. Mr Foo was bleeding in the mouth and Robech was reeking of alcohol.

Robech, who was on a social visit pass, had approached Mr Foo and requested to be taken to Nostalgia Hotel in Tiong Bahru.

Mr Foo misheard this as Costa Rica Hotel and told him that there was no such hotel.

Robech got angry. He punched and kicked Mr Foo through the window. Mr Foo then grabbed hold of Robech's leg to prevent him from further attacking him.

Mr Jumaidig was dropping off a passenger when he saw the assault and stepped forward to help. He, too, was attacked.

Mr Jumaidig's history of lower back pain worsened after the fall. He had pain in the chest and complained of strain in the central chest region. He was given medical leave from July 20 to 22, and from July 25 to 27.

Robech's lawyer Chandra Mohan K. Nair said his client, who had come to Singapore the day before the incident, apologised for causing this unfortunate incident and regretted what he had done.

He said Robech had acted on impulse, that the duration of the incident was short and momentary, and that the injury caused was minor.

"He is truly ashamed and remorseful of his behaviour and extremely sorry for causing hurt to others, and promises this will not happen again as he normally does not drink," said the lawyer.

The experience had brought his client a great deal of sadness and shame, and his long stay had strained him financially and emotionally, he added.

Robech could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 per charge. A third charge of mischief was considered in sentencing.