Uber driver jailed for 5 weeks for attacking cabby, fined $1,000 for shouting vulgarities at hotel staff

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver was helping a woman get her drunken brother into his cab when the man became upset and assaulted the cabby, a court heard.

Taroon Dass Joginder Dass, 30, an Uber driver, was jailed for five weeks on Tuesday (Nov 7) after admitting to choking Mr Kew Sieh Min and punching the 57-year-old in the face. The incident in the taxi happened in River Valley Road at about 3.30am on March 6.

Dass was also given the maximum $1,000 fine for his behaviour towards two hotel staff while he was drunk on July 30. He shouted vulgarities at the staff of SO Sofitel Singapore in Robinson Road, and refused to leave the premises despite being told to do so.

He committed this offence while on bail for causing hurt to the taxi driver.

Dass also admitted to pushing restaurant manager Pragash Kanna Muthusamy, 36, in his chest, grabbing his spectacles and throwing them on the floor at 12.18pm on July 30.

District Judge Samuel Chua sentenced him to one week's jail for this; it will run concurrently with the other sentence.

He also ordered Dass to pay $200 to Mr Kew for his medical expenses.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhuo Wenzhao said that Dass was drunk from partying with his relatives at a club on March 5.

His 35-year-old sister tried to flag a taxi down in River Valley Road at about 3am to take Dass home.

When Mr Kew stopped his taxi, Dass' sister tried to pull her brother in by bear-hugging the accused but encountered some difficulty getting him into the cab.

Mr Kew then tried to help by pulling Dass' shoulder. This upset Dass, who punched the cabby's face and choked him with both arms until a passer-by pulled him away.

Mr Kew suffered a cut in his right ear that required stitches. He also had a cut on his nose bridge.

In the July 30 incident, Dass followed two hotel guests who were checking out and video recorded them in the driveway of the hotel.

Sensing that the two guests were disturbed by Dass, Mr Pragash came forward and shielded them, and took them into the restaurant.

Dass tried to follow the two guests in but was stopped. He then shouted vulgarities at Mr Pragash and other hotel staff. He refused to leave after being told repeatedly to do so.

Upon seeing the commotion, night manager Hafiz Huzaifah Firdaus Roslan, 28, came to help.

Dass was trying to force his way into the restaurant when he snatched Mr Pragash's spectacles and threw them onto the ground. He also pushed Mr Pragash and Mr Huzaifah when they tried to stop him from entering the hotel kitchen.

Pleading for leniency, Dass said he was a public servant in the Singapore Armed Forces for close to 10 years. He said he had no alcohol problem and had stopped drinking after the two incidents.

He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt. For using criminal force, the maximum punishment is three months' jail and a $1,500 fine.