SINGAPORE - A hostel housekeeper was jailed for seven months on Tuesday (April 4) for physically abusing his then 15-year-old stepson and threatening to hurt the boy with a hammer.
The 44-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the teenager's identity, pleaded guilty to ill-treating the youngster and criminally intimidating him.
On June 24 last year, the man spotted an abandoned television set at the void deck of their block of flats in the south-eastern part of Singapore and asked the boy to retrieve it.
The teenager, who was about to leave their home for evening prayers, went downstairs to check but could not find the TV set.
He told the man that he would continue to look for it after he was done with his prayers. But it was nowhere to be found after his prayers ended.
The man flew into a rage when his stepson returned home empty handed at around 10pm that day. He threw a bag of potato chips at the boy's face and hurled vulgarities at him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh said: "The accused then suddenly swung his leg at the victim's face and kicked him in the right jaw.
"The accused also wanted to punch the victim but was stopped by the victim's mother."
The man then retrieved a hammer from the kitchen, raised the tool in a threatening manner and marched towards the boy.
He told his stepson: "You watch, later when you sleep, I will step on your face."
When the boy's mother heard this, she went between them and stopped her husband just as he was about to swing the hammer at her son.
After a brief struggle, she managed to wrest the tool away from him. But the man was still not done abusing the boy.
He walked towards the teenager, punched his back multiple times and slapped his left ear once. He only stopped when his wife intervened by pushing him into a bedroom.
The boy seized this opportunity to run out of the flat and fled to a friend's home.
He lodged a police report at around 2.15am on June 25 before going to Changi General Hospital for a medical examination.
A medical report later stated that he suffered injuries including tenderness over his right jaw and a bruise on his upper back. He was discharged as an outpatient and given five days of medical leave.
His mother also left the flat after this incident and sought refuge at her friend's home.
She applied for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against the man and it was granted last August.
The PPO stated that the man is restrained from using family violence against the mother-son pair.
The man has two daughters with his wife. The couple are no longer living together and are in the midst of a divorce.
For ill-treating the boy, the man could have been jailed up to four years and fined up to $4,000.
And for criminal intimidation, he could have been jailed up to two years and fined.