Woman fined $4,000 for punching fellow commuter in bus stop row

SINGAPORE - A woman who punched a fellow commuter in the face after believing that she had cut in at a bus stop queue was fined $4,000 on Thursday.

Immigration consultant Madelyn Ong Kim Choo, 30, was also ordered to pay $1,500 compensation to sales promoter Sakinah Sani, 52, for attacking her on the SBS Transit service No. 293 at Tampines Bus Interchange on May 12 last year.

A court heard the dispute arose when Madam Sakinah stepped aside to allow passengers behind her to board first.

As the service was full neither woman could board it so Madam Sakinah stepped back in the queue in front of Ong.

When the next bus arrived both women boarded before Ong began shouting at Madam Sakinah.

Ong punched her in the face three times, causing her lip to bleed.

Madam Sakinah was taken to Changi General Hospital and treated for bruises. She was given three days' medical leave and has incurred about $600 in medical costs.

Madam Sakinah said she was left traumatised by the incident and now takes a different route to avoid bumping into Ong.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmine Chin-Sabado urged Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun to impose a short jail sentence in the public interest and to send a strong message that unruly behaviour on public transportation is not tolerated.

Ong's lawyer Ravinderpal Singh said in mitigation that his client was very remorseful and that the offence was "one-off".

He said Ong has given back to society by volunteering at Willing Hearts, which provides meals for the underprivileged.

When counsel pointed out that two staff members from the Fellowship were in court to support her, Ong was seen wiping tears from her eyes.

She could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.

elena@sph.com.sg