Interior designer gets 8 weeks' jail for assaulting taxi driver

Ho Chee Kwang rained punches on a taxi driver he encountered on a road on June 9, 2016.
Ho Chee Kwang rained punches on a taxi driver he encountered on a road on June 9, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An interior designer, who rained punches on a taxi driver he encountered on a road, was sentenced to eight weeks' jail on Friday (July 28).

Ho Chee Kwang, 31, admitted to hurting Mr Choo Beng Heng, 48, near Block 298 Yio Chu Kang Road at 12.13am on June 9 last year.

He is the second man to have been dealt with in connection with this case.

Car rental shop worker Dickson Goh Teck Long, 25, who kicked the victim on the back a few times, has already served his five-week jail sentence.

The case against student Jason Ang Li Jie, 21, is still at pre-trial conference stage.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said that Ho and his two friends - Goh and Ang - were in a parked car along a one-way lane at Serangoon Gardens that day when the interior designer suddenly opened his car door.

It almost hit Mr Choo's taxi as he was driving past.

Mr Choo wound down his window and told Ho to watch out for moving vehicles. Ho got out and said "what you want" and uttered vulgarities at Mr Choo, who ignored him and drove off.

Later, Mr Choo saw Ho's white Honda Civic car following closely behind him when he was driving towards a petrol station along Yio Chu Kang Road.

He pulled over to inquire why Ho was tailing him. As he got out of his taxi, Ho and his friends did the same.

Ho abused Mr Choo and punched him several times on the face. Mr Choo fell to the ground when he tried to block Ho's punches. The other two then allegedly joined in the assault.

The three men fled when the cabby went to his taxi to press the emergency button.

Mr Choo was taken to hospital where he was found to have fractures on his face and tenderness on the right side of his chest. He was warded for two days and given three weeks of outpatient leave.

Ho had previous convictions for theft, cheating, drug- and traffic-related offences as well as causing hurt to a taxi driver.

In mitigation, Ho's lawyer Mervyn Tan said he is supporting his family and is financially strapped. But he agreed that was not a good reason for him to lose his temper.

"He was in a situation whereby he was facing mounting bills and was really very, very pressured. (He was) trying to cope with life with three young children together with taking care of his parents,'' said the lawyer.

Mr Tan said his client wishes to sincerely apologise to the victim for what he has done.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong accepted the prosecutor's submission for a sentence of eight weeks' jail . He also expressed his deep concern that Ho had been committing offences since 2004, when he was very young.

Judge Ng allowed Ho to defer the sentence until Aug 18 and set bail at $10,000.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.