Swede who punched cabby after walking off without paying gets 12 weeks' jail

Andreas Michel Blomqvist (above) tackled taxi driver Koh Tat Wah to the ground and punched him several times when Mr Koh tried to collect the $20 fare.
Andreas Michel Blomqvist (above) tackled taxi driver Koh Tat Wah to the ground and punched him several times when Mr Koh tried to collect the $20 fare.ST FILE PHOTO

A SWEDE was sentenced yesterday to 12 weeks' jail for punching a 60-year-old taxi driver who tried to collect his fare.

In the early hours of Sept 20 last year, corporate secretarial executive Andreas Michel Blomqvist took Mr Koh Tat Wah's cab from HarbourFront to his home in Ang Mo Kio.

When the 29-year-old walked off without handing over the $20 fare, Mr Koh chased after him and blocked his way.

Blomqvist then tackled him to the ground and punched him several times in the face until a bystander separated them.

The police were called and the victim was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he was found to have swelling above his eyes and mild bruising on his forehead.

Blomqvist, who conducted his own defence during the trial last month, maintained that he had thrown the punches in self-defence because he felt "unsafe".

He said: "If I had been able to walk away, I would have done so.

"I know I did not pay the fare, but he did not have the right to block me."

He also argued that the injuries were mild, and that the victim took no medical leave and returned to work the next day.

Assistant Public Prosecutor N. K. Anitha said, however, that due to the injuries, the cabby had not been able to work his usual hours until two months after the incident.

District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid said: "I find there was no need for you to use violence on the victim. The victim was never violent towards you."

He added, however, that he would take into consideration the facts that the accused is a first-time offender and showed previous evidence of good character.

Blomqvist, who has been living in Singapore since 2011 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree, showed he has been a regular blood donor.

His sentence will start on Friday. He is currently out on bail of $5,000 to settle his affairs.

For voluntarily causing hurt, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to $5,000, or both.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg