Man gets 8 weeks' jail for assaulting cabby, and fighting

Sales promoter punched taxi driver in dispute over fare, and fought with security guard on a separate occasion

An inebriated sales promoter punched a taxi driver on the head in a dispute over cab fare.

Kester Tay Jun Wen, 25, had given a $5 note instead of a $50 bill to the cabby, when the fare amounted to $35.50.

Yesterday, he was jailed for a total of eight weeks for punching Mr Lee Nyen, 63, on March 19 last year, and for fighting with a security guard at Lot One Shoppers' Mall in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 on March 6 the same year.

In the assault case, Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Zilang told the court that Mr Lee picked up Tay and his friend from Marina Square in his taxi at 5.05am on March 19.

Mr Lee dropped off Tay's friend in Bedok South Road, then drove Tay to Punggol.

When they reached Block 621A, Edgefield Walk, Mr Lee said the cab fare was $35.50. Tay handed over a $5 note to the cabby, who returned it, saying the fare was more than that.

As both men got out of the taxi, Tay punched Mr Lee on the head, causing him to fall. He then sat on Mr Lee and continued punching him.

  • $400

    The amount Kester Tay Jun Wen paid to taxi driver Lee Nyen for his medical fees and damaged phone.

A resident came to help the cabby, but Tay had left by then.

Police were told of the incident, but before they arrived at the scene, Tay returned and tried to punch Mr Lee again. This time, the resident intervened and all three men fell to the ground.

Tay, who had been drinking with his friends at Shanghai Dolly the night before, paid $400 to Mr Lee for his medical fees and damaged phone.

Tay was also involved in another incident earlier that month, which earned him more jail time.

He was promoting slimming treatment vouchers at Lot One Shoppers' Mall on March 6, when security guard Krishna Esvarna Mohanlal Malu, 32, twice told him to do so inside the mall, instead of at the entrance. Later that evening, the two had another dispute over where Tay could stand.

Each man later claimed that it was the other who started the fight by hurling vulgarities and spitting.

Krishna, who has been charged and will be dealt with separately, allegedly threw the first punch at Tay's face. The incident was captured on closed-circuit television and the footage found its way to social media platforms.

Tay's lawyer Shaneet Rai said despite his client's troubled upbringing, he had tried to get his life back on track. Tay did his N levels while he was in the Reformative Training Centre for loan shark harassment.

Tay could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt. For affray, the maximum punishment is one year's jail and a $5,000 fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'Man gets 8 weeks' jail for assaulting cabby, and fighting'. Print Edition | Subscribe