Drunk passenger gets 8 weeks for assaulting taxi driver

Michelle Ja'quinn Wang Ying Xin kicked, scratched and bit a taxi driver and was sentenced to eight weeks' jail. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A drunk woman passenger who kicked, scratched and bit a taxi driver was sentenced to eight weeks' jail on Thursday (July 13).

Michelle Ja'quinn Wang Ying Xin, 36, who was self-employed, had admitted to kicking Mr Pan Chung Woh, 37, in the face, scratching him on his head and face, pulling his head and biting him twice on his left arm at about 12.50am on Dec 30, 2015.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh had told the court that Wang, a Singaporean, had taken two to three glasses of wine at a friend's place on Dec 29 that year.

At around 12.30am, her friends called a taxi for her.

When Mr Pan arrived, they told him that Wang had "sobered up" and placed her in the back seat of the taxi.

They then went back to the house to get their wallets. Meanwhile, Wang told Mr Pan that she was all right and asked him to take her to Sin Ming Road. Before driving off, Mr Pan asked Wang again if she was all right and she said that she was.

While driving along Bishan Road at about 12.50am, Mr Pan pulled over and asked Wang for directions to Sin Ming Road.

Suddenly, Wang kicked Mr Pan in the face. She tried to kick him a second time but he managed to dodge the blow.

She then pulled his head towards her before scratching him on his head and face. When Mr Pan tried to grab her hands, she bit him on his left arm.

Mr Pan decided to drive to Bishan Neighbourhood Police Centre to seek help.

While the taxi was moving along Bishan Street 23, Wang tried to bite and scratch the driver, and managed to bite him again.

Mr Pan saw a taxi emerging from a carpark at Block 212 and intended to seek help. He stopped his taxi, but before he could alight, Wang dashed out and ran to the second taxi and sat in the front passenger seat.

On seeing this, the other taxi driver got out of his vehicle.

A resident heard the commotion and saw Wang grabbing Mr Pan and shouting. He called the police before going down to see if anyone needed help.

He saw Wang inside the second taxi, hitting the dashboard and shouting to be sent home.

When the police arrived, they repeatedly told Wang, who was aggressive and shouting, to calm down but she refused.

DPP Koh said necessary force had to be used to restrain Wang, who was arrested.

Wang had paid $160 in compensation to the victim for his medical expenses and unpaid taxi fare.

DPP Koh had pressed for at least eight weeks' jail, citing aggravating factors. She said Wang had assaulted the victim for no reason and the entire incident was prolonged.

The scratch marks on the victim showed her "frenzied attack" on Mr Pan, which would undoubtedly have caused him significant fear and distress, she added.

Wang's lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy said his client had worked in commodity trading for five years before she resigned due to poor market conditions. She was until recently working as a Grab driver.

He said Wang could not recall what happened that day. Her consciousness was likely to be impaired due to her severe intoxication - her blood-alcohol level was found to be 194mg, according to a psychiatrist. The legal limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood

Mr Ashwin said his client had since stopped drinking, was sorry for her actions, and was shocked and troubled that she was capable of doing such a thing to someone. He asked for a sentence of around four weeks' jail to be meted out.

District Judge Brenda Tan allowed Wang to defer her eight-week sentence to July 17. Wang could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.

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