Jail for man who verbally abused taxi driver with vulgarities and racially charged slurs

SINGAPORE - A man was riding in a taxi last year when he hurled vulgarities and racially charged slurs at the driver, as he felt the cabby had taken a longer route to his destination.

Sahayanathan Anthony, now 48, was on Thursday (Aug 26) sentenced to a week and 10 days' jail after he pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment.

The Singaporean also admitted to being drunk in a public place and causing annoyance to the cabby - Mr Tan Take Hok, 66.

Sahayanathan and his wife had boarded the taxi in Toh Guan Road near Jurong East Central at 6.54pm on Oct 30 last year.

Sahayanathan directed the cabby to take them to Plaza Singapura shopping mall in Orchard Road.

As they were on their way to the mall, Sahayanathan became agitated. He felt the cabby had taken a longer route to their destination.

He then started to verbally abuse the driver.

State Prosecuting Officer M. Mariyappan said that Sahayanathan did not pay the $17.80 fare when the taxi arrived at the mall.

The SPO added: "The accused informed the complainant that he was rushing to purchase a handphone inside the mall and would come back later to pay the taxi driver once he was done... The accused and his wife then alighted from the taxi.

"The complainant did not agree to the arrangement, as he had concerns that the accused might not come back to settle his taxi fare."

Mr Tan called the police and also followed the couple into the mall so as not to lose sight of them.

Police officers arrived at Plaza Singapura at around 7.45pm and noticed that Sahayanathan was intoxicated. He was also shouting at Mr Tan.

The officers had to separate the pair.

SPO Mariyappan said: "Whilst the police officers were trying to find out the facts and calm down the accused, (he) kept shouting, 'I want to punch him' and charged towards the complainant. The accused was stopped by the police officers, who restrained him."

In an unrelated incident, the court heard that Sahayanathan had also hurled an obscene word at a Certis Cisco officer at the Singapore General Hospital on Feb 28 this year.