Man fined $4k for threatening behaviour

One of two men caught on video causing a ruckus at a bak kut teh shop in Balestier Road was fined $4,000 yesterday for his threatening behaviour towards a waitress.

Tay Soo Yong, 51, a foot therapist, admitted throwing chopsticks twice towards Ms Cheng Weihui, 27, at Balestier Bak Kut Teh (Kian Lian) at 2.17am on Aug 19 last year.

Another accused, Toh Kian Teck, 53, will be dealt with separately for his alleged involvement at the scene.

The court heard that Tay, Toh and two other men went to the shop to have supper. They had been drinking in Toa Payoh and were seen to be intoxicated.

Ms Cheng replaced the cutlery on their table before walking back into the shop to get an iPad to take their orders. Toh yelled in Hokkien that he wished to order food but she did not understand the dialect.

Toh perceived the waitress as having ignored him, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay. He got agitated and allegedly threw a chopstick in her direction.

Tay, who was also angry with Ms Cheng because of the perceived slight, threw a bunch of chopsticks at her twice, with the intention of causing her alarm. The two men also shouted comments about the "arrogant" attitude of the staff.

Toh then went to another table and allegedly threw more cutlery on the floor, and flung a chair against a rack. He was also said to have pushed an industrial food steamer onto the floor.

Fearing for Ms Cheng's safety, a 65-year-old dish washer intervened. Tay also tried to restrain Toh. The four men then left the shop.

The damage caused was more than $2,000.

DPP Tay told District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt that Tay had been released from jail for drug offences last May. He paid $3,000 yesterday and will pay the balance of $1,000 in a month's time. He could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to six months under the Protection from Harassment Act.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2018, with the headline 'Man fined $4k for threatening behaviour'. Print Edition | Subscribe