Two weeks' jail for 82-year-old who beat up neighbour

An 82-year-old man could not get along with his neighbour and attacked her last year, breaking two of her ribs.

Peh Swee Tong, who lives in Hougang Central, was jailed for two weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to causing hurt.

The court heard that Peh and his neighbour, Ms Lee Lai Soh, 51, had been involved in numerous disputes since she moved into the block. Court papers did not mention what these disputes were about or when she moved in.

The situation took an ugly turn when Ms Lee was on her way home, at around 3.50pm on March 21 last year.

She was going up the stairs between the second and third floors when she spotted Peh standing nearby.

As she walked past him, he suddenly scratched her face and pulled her hair.

Ms Lee turned around and went back down the stairs as she did not want to prolong the confrontation.

However, Peh followed closely behind until they reached the ground floor, where she took out her mobile phone and snapped a photo of him. He then went up to her and hit her.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said: "The victim squatted down and the accused punched the victim on her neck and head areas, as well as kicked her on her lower back.

"The victim used her arms to shield herself by covering her face."

Peh only stopped when she told him that she was going to inform the police of the attack.

When Ms Lee made the call for help, she told Peh to stay put and he remained at the scene.

Officers soon arrived, and Ms Lee went to the Singapore General Hospital about four hours later.

According to a medical report, her injuries included two broken ribs, a bruise on her left shoulder and an 8cm scratch on her scalp. She was given a week's medical leave.

The prosecutor urged District Judge Eddy Tham to jail Peh for at least three weeks.

He said: "In our densely populated country, where the majority of the population live in high-rise housing and in close proximity with each other, there is a need to ensure that neighbours resolve their disputes peacefully and do not resort to violence."

Before handing out the sentence, Judge Tham said that this case was an example of how much grief neighbours could cause each other.

A message needed to be sent out to inform others that acts of violence will not be tolerated, he said.

For causing hurt, Peh could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Two weeks' jail for 82-year-old who beat up neighbour'. Print Edition | Subscribe