American jailed three weeks for punching taxi driver

SINGAPORE - A professional beer brewer was on Thursday sentenced to three weeks in jail for punching a cabbie and leaving him with a bruise on his head.

Scott Andrew Baczek, 39, pleaded guilty to hurting Mr Dieu Eng Hee, 42, around 10.56pm on Sep 28 last year.

The court heard that Baczek had boarded Mr Dieu's Comfort Delgro taxi earlier along Guillemard Road. He asked to be taken to Lorong J Telok Kurau and fell asleep during the journey.

When they had arrived at the destination, Mr Dieu woke him up to ask where he would alight but Baczek said, "level one," and fell asleep again. The cabbie woke him up again to ask what this meant but this irritated the American, who swore at him.

Mr Dieu then asked Baczek to pay and leave but his passenger refused and continued to sleep. The passenger finally got out when Mr Dieu killed the vehicle engine and called the police, but said he would not pay the fare. He started to walk away and later punched Mr Dieu, shortly after Mr Dieu followed him from behind in the taxi and asked him to wait for the police to arrive.

After speaking to police, Baczek paid the fare stated on the meter, which had been left on and came up to $25.10. Further investigations revealed he had drunk alcohol at an event before taking the cab.

He could have been jailed up to two years and fined $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt. One charge of intentionally causing alarm to the cabbie by swearing at him was taken into consideration.