8 weeks’ jail for Bentley driver who threatened to run down security officer at Red Swastika School

The video showed Neo Hong Chye in a white Bentley threatening to run down the 62-year-old security guard. PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, SCREENGRAB FROM SGRV/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The driver of the Bentley who had threatened to run down a 62-year-old security guard outside Red Swastika School was jailed for eight weeks and fined $600.

Neo Hong Chye, 61, was also disqualified from holding all classes of driving licences for 12 months.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of causing hurt by performing a rash act, which accounts for his jail term, and another count of driving the vehicle without insurance coverage.

He arrived outside the school in a Bentley and because he had bypassed a queue of cars, was stopped from entering the premises by the security guard.

But he inched the car forward even when the guard stood in front of the vehicle, injuring him.

Neo, who appeared in court in a floral shirt, remained quiet and stood with his head bowed as the facts were read out to him.

The court heard that Neo was driving his granddaughter to school on Jan 11. He bypassed the queue of cars waiting to enter the school on the leftmost lane of the road and tried to enter the school from the second lane.

When the security guard asked him to use the side gate instead, he inched the Bentley forward, pressing against the guard’s body and causing him to move backwards, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Ben Mathias Tan.

Neo then got out of the car and asked why he could not enter.

After the victim explained that he was not in the queue, and again advised him to enter via the side gate, Neo got back into the car and inched it forward while the security guard was standing in front of it, causing him to stumble backwards.

The security guard eventually moved away and Neo entered the school’s premises.

The guard suffered a right knee contusion and was given three days of medical leave.

In his submissions, DPP Tan said Neo’s rash and belligerent conduct behind the wheel of the Bentley demonstrated a plain disregard for the safety of the victim and surrounding pedestrians.

DPP Tan sought a sentence of at least eight weeks’ jail, a fine of between $600 and $800, and 12 months’ driving disqualification for all vehicle classes.

In mitigation, Neo’s lawyer John Lim of LIMN Law Corporation said the accused was remorseful and “has not had a restful night since the incident”. Neo tried to apologise to the victim in person but was told to let the law take its course, he added.

Mr Lim also said that since it was Neo’s first time driving his granddaughter to school, he was not familiar with the routine and the area.

When Mr Lim said the security guard stopped the Bentley while it was in the yellow box, causing it to be an obstruction to oncoming traffic, District Judge Lim Tse Haw cautioned him against trying to pin the blame on the victim.

Before meting out the sentence, the judge said security officers play a vital role in safeguarding the premises where they are employed and deserve full cooperation and respect.

“What the accused has done in this case is totally unacceptable,” he said, adding that there is no place in society for such reckless and inconsiderate behaviour.

The accused’s son, Glynn Neo Jia, 28, was charged in May with one count each of altering the licence plate number of the Bentley and allowing his father to use it without insurance coverage.

He was the owner of the Bentley at the time and allegedly allowed his father to drive the car at around 6.30am on the day of the incident.

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The court heard on Wednesday that the younger Neo had altered the licence plate of the car for “photoshoot purposes”.

His case is still pending.

An online search of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) revealed that the older Neo is the owner of Jia Xiu Contractors, a company involved in building construction.

He is also a director at two other companies - Aquatemp and JXC.

An Acra search also revealed that Glynn Neo is a director at JXC Logistics and Neo Times, which deals with used cars.

For causing hurt by committing a rash act, Neo could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both.

For using a car without insurance coverage, he could have been jailed for up to three months, fined up to $1,000, or both. An offender can also be disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for a year.

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