Cabby gets one week's jail for punching commuter at taxi stand

Willie Lim Ghim Lee (pictured) was convicted of causing hurt to Mr Basu Shantanu at the taxi stand at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) some time before 5.40pm on June 28, 2016. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver who punched a manager in the face was sentenced to one week's jail on Friday (Oct 6).

Willie Lim Ghim Lee, 42, was convicted of causing hurt to Mr Basu Shantanu, 37, at the taxi stand at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) some time before 5.40pm on June 28, 2016.

During the trial, the court heard that Mr Shantanu and his family were queueing for a taxi at the RWS taxi stand after dinner. The victim's family was visiting him and his wife in Singapore from India.

Lim had parked his Chrysler taxi near the exit of the taxi stand for some time as he was waiting for a customer to board.

People in the queue who wanted to take regular taxis instead of Lim's had to move past his Chrysler to get out of the queue.

As Lim's taxi was in the way of Mr Shantanu and his 59-year-old mother, who wanted to board another taxi behind, Mr Shantanu tapped on the Chrysler, with the intention of signalling for Lim to move forward. Mr Shantanu needed some space for his mother to exit the taxi queue as she had difficulty walking.

Lim got out of his taxi and punched the victim in the face without warning, causing the victim to fall, the court was told. The victim's mother, who was standing next to him, also fell.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay argued that Lim had completely over-reacted over a trivial matter. His act of aggression towards the victim was totally unwarranted, she said.

Lim punched the victim not only in front of his family but also in full view of many members of the public, the court heard.

Mr Shantanu suffered a 3cm bruise over his right forehead and an abrasion on his right forearm. His mother was also hurt.

DPP Tay said Lim's attack on a person in a taxi queue waiting to use public transport was an aggravating factor.

"The accused's behaviour was brazen and demonstrated his blatant disregard for law and order," she said.

She said Lim's conduct during the trial also showed an utter lack of remorse. Not only did he make baseless allegations against the victim and utter insults at him in court, he also behaved in a belligerent manner while the independent witness was testifying, said DPP Tay.

She sought a sentence of about one week's jail.

District Judge Kessler Soh told Lim, who was unrepresented, to take this as a lesson and never to get involved in violence, no matter what the irritation was.

He said the sentence proposed by the prosecution was fair.

Lim was allowed to start his sentence on Oct 13. He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.

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