Man arrested over racist remarks, attack on university student at East Coast Park

SINGAPORE - A man has been arrested after a university student was attacked and verbally abused at East Coast Park early on Friday morning (July 2).

The incident left the victim, a Singaporean, with bruises on his face and abdomen.

He was treated at Singapore General Hospital and was not hospitalised.

Police said a 33-year-old was nabbed for purportedly being a public nuisance.

"He will also be investigated for the offence of voluntarily causing hurt and intentional harassment," added the police.

Madam Eileen Lee told The Straits Times that her 21-year-old son - who wanted to be known only as Mr Teo and declined to be interviewed - was punched and kicked.

He is in his first year of studies at a local university.

Madam Lee, a housewife in her 50s, said the man, who was not provoked, directed racist remarks at her son and his two friends.

Mr Teo was cycling with a friend at the park when they decided to cut short their outing after one of the bikes had a flat tyre.

They phoned another friend to get a lift home.

Shortly after loading the bicycles into a van at East Coast Park's F2 carpark, they heard the man - who was nearby - making racist remarks and saw him staring at them.

The three friends stayed in the van to avoid a confrontation.

The man proceeded to release air from one of the tyres, prompting Mr Teo to come out of the van to fix the problem, recounted Madam Lee.

That was when the man allegedly assaulted her son.

An eyewitness, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chu, corroborated her account.

The Republic Polytechnic student, 19, told ST that he and his three friends saw the attack, which involved pushing, punching and kicking. One of them called the police.

Mr Chu said they did not intervene because they did not want to provoke the man. Saying the latter is in his mid-20s to 30s and about 1.7m tall, Mr Chu said he and his friends had been harassed by him earlier.

"Around 1.30am, we were eating our supper at a shelter when he sat down at the next table and told us things like we should 'go back to China'.

"We all kept quiet. My friends just looked at their food, while I smiled and nodded," added Mr Chu, who is Singaporean.

He said the man eventually left, only for them to see him again at the carpark during the incident involving Mr Teo.

A video taken by Mr Chu showed a man of medium build, wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, walking around a carpark and talking on his phone.

Mr Chu added that the man told them in a defiant tone that he would wait till the police arrived, after seeing them call the police, but left on his motorbike before the officers turned up.

Responding to ST queries, the police said they received a call for assistance at Carpark F2 of East Coast Park at 1.50am.

Offenders convicted of being a public nuisance can be jailed for up to three months, fined up to $2,000, or both.

If found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt, a person may be jailed for up to three years, fined up to $5,000, or both.

Those found guilty of intentional harassment may be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.

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