Pasir Ris viral video

Lorry driver: I didn't know side mirror was broken

It happened too suddenly after taxi honked at him, says man on trial after spat with cyclist

Teo Seng Tiong told the court: "I did not knock into him (the cyclist), so I had no idea why the mirror was damaged."
Teo Seng Tiong told the court: "I did not knock into him (the cyclist), so I had no idea why the mirror was damaged."ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A lorry driver, who was involved in an altercation with a cyclist in Pasir Ris last year, told a court that while he knew a taxi had honked at him, he could not tell where the subsequent crushing sound came from as he swerved away from the taxi.

It was only after he stopped his vehicle that he realised the sound had come from his side mirror breaking, said Teo Seng Tiong, 58. Teo, who took the stand on Thursday on the third day of his trial, said this was because it happened "too suddenly".

When grilled by Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong on why he was able to tell that the honking sound came from the right, but could not tell where the crushing sound came from, Teo said: "At that point in time, I wasn't able to differentiate." He added that he did not feel any sensation in the lorry from the mirror breaking.

Teo, who owns a fish farm, was involved in an incident with cyclist Eric Cheung Hoyu, 35, at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Pasir Ris Rise on Dec 22 last year.

In the video of the incident, which has garnered over three million views to date, Mr Cheung is seen using his hand to hit the left side mirror of Teo's lorry. The lorry then suddenly swerves to the left in the direction of Mr Cheung, who falls off his bicycle and onto the grass verge by the side of the road.

Both men were arrested within three days of the incident.

In April, Mr Cheung was fined $2,800 for committing mischief and causing obstruction by riding his bicycle in the middle of the lane instead of the leftmost side.

Teo is contesting his two charges - one for acting rashly as to cause hurt to Mr Cheung, and the other for failing to make a police report within 24 hours of the accident.

If convicted of the first charge, he could be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000. For the second charge, he could be jailed for up to three months or fined up to $1,000 as a first-time offender.

Teo told the court that he swerved left in the direction of Mr Cheung, as he had heard the taxi sound its horn at him, and then the sound of "something breaking".

Thinking he had hit the taxi, he "instinctively swerved a little", said Teo, who has been driving for more than 30 years.

 
 
 
 

When he stopped his lorry, the taxi did not stop. Teo said he then felt something was amiss and realised he had not hit the taxi.

"I paused a little, and realised that my mirror was damaged. So I alighted to take a look," he added.

When he got out of his vehicle, Teo said Mr Cheung shouted a vulgarity at him and kept referring to his bicycle.

Teo said he then asked Mr Cheung what had happened to his side mirror. "I did not knock into him, so I had no idea why the mirror was damaged," he added.

He said he was worried that Mr Cheung would ask him to compensate for the damage to the bicycle.

When asked by DPP Choong if he was unhappy that his side mirror was broken, he replied: "Why would I be unhappy with the mirror? It costs only $15, I just took it as my misfortune. I just wanted to ask (Mr Cheung) why the mirror was broken."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2019, with the headline 'Lorry driver: I didn't know side mirror was broken'. Subscribe