Salesman jailed 3 weeks for kicking taxi driver

Barry Koh Cheang Wan, 35, was furious that his sister was asked to step out of a taxi after vomiting in it, and challenged the driver to a fight.
Barry Koh Cheang Wan, 35, was furious that his sister was asked to step out of a taxi after vomiting in it, and challenged the driver to a fight. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Furious that his sister was asked to step out of a taxi after she vomited in it, a drunk salesman challenged a cabby to a fight and kicked his shin.

Barry Koh Cheang Wan, 35, and his sister were drunk and reeking of alcohol when they hailed a taxi, driven by Mr Kwek Voon Sheng, along Middle Road on May 5 last year.

When they arrived at their destination at Compassvale Lane, Koh's sister paid the cab fare and then vomited inside the vehicle.

Mr Kwek, 37, told her to step outside to vomit as he still needed to ferry other passengers.

Upon hearing that, Koh got angry. He got out and opened the victim's door. The victim said he did not want any trouble and was trying to make a livelihood.

Koh took off his shirt, challenged Mr Kwek to a fight, and then kicked the victim's right shin.

He tried to punch the cabby who managed to block it. Koh fell as a result, and Mr Kwek took the opportunity to call the police.

Koh got up and continued to be aggressive. He grabbed a nearby incense burner and threw it at the rear of the taxi.

For causing hurt, Koh was jailed for three weeks on Thursday.

Mr Kwek, who was given two days' medical leave, suffered a bruise over the right shin and tenderness.

Koh's lawyer Jeanny Ng, who did the case pro bono under Catholic Lawyers Guild, said her client, who is estranged from his wife and child, was extremely remorseful. He has compensated the taxi driver for losses plus $160 for the minor injury sustained, she said.

She added that Koh is well-liked by his employers, who have sponsored his diploma course in a polytechnic.

After completing the course in 2017, he will pursue a degree in business management.

Koh could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000. A second charge of mischief was taken into consideration.