Lorry driver jailed for threatening cabby with rod, damaging taxi

SINGAPORE - A LORRY driver picked a fight with a woman who had stopped a taxi behind his lorry, and then threatened the cabby with what looked like a metal rod.

Koh Yong Kwee, 41, then repeatedly hit Mr Norashid Mohamad Nor's taxi with the rod, which was about one metre long, after the cabby had wound up the window in fear. This caused almost $300 in damage.

On Monday, Koh, who is now jobless, was sentenced to two months' jail for criminally intimidating the 35-year-old cabby in 2013. His total jail term comes to 29 months, after including punishment for cheating offences he committed last year with credit cards stolen from his mother's tenant.

The court heard that in the wee hours of Oct 23, 2013, Mr Norashid had stopped his taxi behind Koh's lorry for the passenger to enter.

But before she could close the door, Koh appeared and pulled her out of the taxi by her hair. He grew angry at Mr Norashid when the cabby wound down the window to ask why he was scuffling with the passenger.

Koh then retrieved the rod from his lorry and walked towards the cab.

On Sept 27 last year - while out on court bail for the taxi incident - Koh opened his flat's letter box and found a credit card in an envelope addressed to his tenant, who was overseas at the time.

Koh later entered the 48-year-old tenant's room, stole some valuables and a second credit card belonging to the tenant.

Koh then used the first card to buy various items, including an iPhone. He was caught after a transaction failed because he had exceeded the card's limit, and a sales assistant called the police.

While out on police bail, he activated the second card and continued to cheat retailers.

District Judge Victor Yeo pointed this out before passing sentence. The judge also noted Koh's long list of previous convictions dating back to 1989, the majority of which were for drug-related offences.

Koh pleaded guilty to seven charges for cheating, criminal intimidation and theft. Another 11, including those for damaging the taxi and attempted cheating, were taken into consideration. No restitution has been made for the losses of more than $7,000.

He could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for intimidating the cabby. For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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