The Straits Times
Published on Aug 22, 2014

Chemical spill on MRT train: Restaurant manager fined $4,500


SINGAPORE - A restaurant manager was fined $4,500 on Friday for causing grievous hurt to a nurse who suffered chemical burns on her buttocks after sitting down on corrosive detergent leaked onto an MRT seat.

Susukida Ryuji admitted to grievously hurting nurse Wan Zahfirah Ashad, 25, with an act so negligent as to endanger the personal safety of others.

On May 2 last year, the 53-year-old Japanese national, on his way to work, had placed a leaking bottle of concentrated dishwashing detergent on the MRT train seat next to him. The detergent leaked all over but he did not clean it up or notify the authorities.

As a result, Ms Wan Zahfirah, who sat on the seat later, suffered chemical burns over her buttocks, involving 3 per cent of her total body surface area.

The court heard that Ryuji, general manager of the Men-ya Kaiko restaurant chain, was at the Marina Bay MRT station that morning on his way to a branch in ION Orchard when he felt his pants were cold. He realised they were damp and the bottle containing the corrosive detergent was leaking. He took it out from his haversack and carried it by hand when he boarded the train.

He placed the bottle on a priority two-seater seat and the colourless liquid spilled out. He got down at Orchard without telling the authorities of the leakage.

Ms Wan Zahfirah was on her way to work and took the train at Woodlands. After she had sat down for a while, she felt a sharp pain on her left buttock. She touched the back of her pants and felt that it was damp. She then felt a stinging pain on her hands and used a piece of tissue to wipe the liquid.

She alighted at Kranji and took a cab home. She realised the liquid had soaked through three layers of garments. After she took off her pants, she noticed that her undergarment was stuck to her buttocks. The skin had peeled off and stuck to her underwear. There was a black patch on her left buttock and patches of red on the other.

She immediately went to hospital where she was warded until Sept 20.

She had skin grafting done and still needs follow-up visits to a plastic surgery specialist outpatient clinic at Singapore General Hospital.

The maximum penalty for the offence is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.