Jail for man who scalded sleeping wife and hurt 2 strangers in separate incidents

SINGAPORE - A man splashed hot water on his wife while she was asleep in their Housing Board flat in Bedok North, causing her to suffer scald injuries on her face and body.

On Tuesday, Philip Ong Guo Xiong, 34, was sentenced to jail for 11 months and two weeks for various offences including voluntarily causing hurt.

He scalded his wife, also 34, on May 28 after getting upset as he believed she had called him ah gua (a Hokkien pejorative for effeminate man) despite her denial.

Earlier in the day, Ong, a warehouse worker at the time, punched her in the right eye because he was unhappy that she had overslept.

In committing the offences against his wife, he also breached a personal protection order taken against him.

These were not the only occasions that he was violent towards his wife.

On June 2, he punched the left side of her head after they quarrelled over how to split the $500 in financial assistance they were receiving from ComCare.

After a member of the public who overheard their argument called the police, officers discover that she had a bloodshot right eye and scald injuries on her forearm, chest and stomach.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yan Ying noted that though Ong's wife had forgiven him, the prosecution wanted to highlight that some measure of deterrence was required.

She said: "The hurt that was caused in this particular case is rather severe, with the victim suffering scald injuries on various parts of the body, which is compounded by the fact she did not seek medical attention.

"It came to light only because of the June 2 incident which was observed by a member of the public."

In a separate incident on Feb 15, Ong hurt a 37-year-old woman he did not know by throwing a traffic cone that hit her arm while she was walking past.

The woman, who was using the pedestrian crossing at Bedok Point Shopping Centre, had noticed Ong and his wife engaging in what seemed to be a verbal dispute.

Investigations revealed that Ong was angry after misplacing his TraceTogether token. His wife tried to calm him down but to no avail.

DPP Tan said: "In his agitation and anger, (Ong) picked up the cone and threw it at a nearby pillar. The cone ricocheted off the pillar and hit the victim, who was walking past, in the arm."

One of the five charges Ong pleaded guilty to was for voluntarily causing hurt to a stranger by shoving him and kicking him in the knee, causing him to fall against a stone bench.

Ong committed the offence in September 2021, after the man, 62, challenged him to a fight and threatened to get people to beat him and his wife.

This followed a dispute at an open space in Bedok North after the victim disagreed with Ong who had claimed there was supposed to be something in the sky resembling "Guan Yin Ma", the Chinese goddess of mercy.

On Tuesday, Ong, who represented himself in court via video link, apologised to the court and his wife.

He said he would try to control his behaviour and continue with his treatment at the Institute of Mental Health.

For voluntarily causing hurt, offenders can be jailed for up to three years, fined up to $5,000, or both.

For breaching a protection order, offenders can be jailed for up to six months, fined up to $2,000, or both.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.