Taxi driver jailed six weeks for slapping, punching and kicking another motorist

An aerial view of traffic along One Marina Boulevard on March 22.
An aerial view of traffic along One Marina Boulevard on March 22.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver slapped a motorist, punched him and kicked him after the latter refused to take up his challenge to a fight, a court heard.

Johari Suhaimi, 35, was jailed for six weeks on Monday (July 18) for road rage. He admitted hurting GrabCar driver Teng Moh Seh, 58, along Marina Boulevard outside Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 at about 8 pm on on Dec 11 last year.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok said Mr Teng was driving along Marina Boulevard in the middle of the three-lane road when Johari cut into his lane abruptly just as Mr Teng approached the entrance of the building.

Mr Teng applied emergency brakes and sounded his horn at Johari.

The two men exchanged words and agreed to talk further outside the building.

After stopping his taxi, Johari went to Mr Teng and asked him to get out of the car. He repeatedly shouted and berated Mr Teng who tried to explain that the cabby's earlier driving was dangerous. Johari remained aggressive and used vulgarities on Mr Teng.

Despite a crowd of onlookers, Johari persisted in his aggressive behaviour and used his chest to bump the victim who staggered backwards.

"The accused tried to goad the victim into punching him. However, the victim did not react to this,'' said APP Kok.

Johari physically handled Mr Teng and challenged him repeatedly to go to Central Boulevard for a fight.Johari then declared that, as Mr Teng refused, they would fight on the spot. He slapped Mr Teng on the cheek before taking off his shirt.

Johari then punched Mr Teng twice in his abdomen and kicked him. Mr Teng keeled over in pain but Johari continued tauting him.

Johari took a photograph of the car's registration number and called the police, stating that the victim had confronted him and grabbed his neck.

A video of the incident was shown in court.

APP Kok said the incident arose out of Johari's deliberate and dangerous driving. He said Johari repeatedly taunted and mocked the victim. It could be seen from the video that Johari wore a smile on his face, but his fake smile did nothing to mask his hooliganism.

He said it was fortuitous that the exchange was captured on camera, otherwise the victim could have suffered for being accused of confronting and grabbing Johari.

Defence lawyer Gino Hardial Singh said his client was under tremendous amount of financia stress at the time - his mother was receiving treatment for a stroke she had three years earlier, and his wife was then expecting their second child.

Johari, who has unrelated convictions for drug consumption, theft, burglary and forgery, could have been jailed for up to two years and or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.