SINGAPORE - A Japanese man who slapped three policemen at an MRT station was on Monday (April 25) fined $6,000 after he pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting a public servant.
Masano Takeshi, 27, an employment pass holder, admitted to two other counts of the same and a charge, of behaving in an annoying manner whilst drunk in a public place. These were considered in sentencing.
A district court heard that at about 11pm on Sept 10, last year, Takeshi was seen struggling with another person at City Hall MRT Station. His face was flushed and he also reeked of alcohol.
Shortly after, the station manager took Takeshi, stumbling and yelling in Japanese, to a first aid room at the station.
At about 11.15pm, officers from the police's Public Transport Security Command arrived. They saw Takeshi waving his hands wildly.
The policemen calmed him down and got him to sit on a chair. But Takeshi got up again and mumbled loudly, before he lost his balance and fell to the ground.
At about 11.25pm, he slapped a policeman once each on his right and left cheeks.
Ten minutes later, he slapped another officer's right cheek once.
Takeshi then stood up, fell backwards and hit his head on a bed frame.
The officers helped him up and sat him on a chair. They saw that he was bleeding at the back of his head and used a bandage to apply pressure on his wound to stop the bleeding.
When a policeman tried to ask him about his condition, Takeshi suddenly slapped the third officer's face several times.
Both the prosecution and defence asked for a fine of about $5,000.
Takeshi's lawyer said the assaults were committed impulsively, and when he was bleeding profusely and in pain.
He has written letters of apology to the officers, and has converted to Islam and will be maintaining his sobriety, his lawyer added.
In passing sentence, District Judge Low Wee Ping told Takeshi: "In Singapore, we give greatest respect to police officers. I wouldn't even dare to scold them, let alone slap them, even as a judge, because they can arrest me."
Judge Low added: "In the Asian context, (a slap) is very insulting, slightly less than spitting at a police officer."
When the judge said he did not sense any sign of remorse from Takeshi, his lawyer told the court that both his parents are police officers in Japan, prompting the judge to reply: "That is even more mystifying."
"If the prosecution had not asked for a fine, I would have sent him to two days in jail for him to sober up, pardon the pun," the judge said.
The maximum penalty for assaulting a public servant is four years' jail and a fine.
The maximum punishment for behaving in an annoying manner whilst drunk in a public place is a $1,000 fine and six months' jail.