Man gets drunk and abuses bus driver a day after release from prison

SINGAPORE - He had just been released from prison on remission, but he got drunk and verbally abused a bus driver a day later, calling him a terrorist and insulting his religion.

On Friday (Aug 13), Jasvinder Singh Mehar Singh, 53, was sentenced to jail for 13 weeks and 12 days after he pleaded guilty to one charge each of uttering words to wound the religious feelings of a person and being drunk in public.

Another two charges of harassment and breaching Covid-19 regulations were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Jasvinder was released from prison and was subject to a remission order from June 29 to Aug 7.

But at about 9.10pm on June 30, he was drunk and boarded bus service 119 at a bus stop near Sengkang MRT Station.

He was not wearing a mask over his nose and mouth, and also did not tap the fare machine when he boarded.

As the bus made its way to Punggol Bus Interchange, Jasvinder approached the bus driver and asked him in his ear about his race.

After the bus driver told him, Jasvinder began to shout at the driver, calling him a terrorist. He also made references to the driver's religion and mother.

He continued to annoy the driver even after the bus arrived at the interchange about 10 minutes later, shouting at him and challenging him to a fight after alighting.

He was arrested after the police were called.

On Friday, the court heard that Jasvinder has repeatedly run afoul of the law since 2014.

He was previously convicted of harassment in June, and received a jail term of five months, 10 weeks and two days, with an enhanced sentence of another 18 days. This was backdated to Dec 8 last year.

Before that, he was jailed for two months and given a 55-day enhanced sentence in April last year. This was for spitting on the floor of a hotel at the airport and shouting, "Corona, corona", after taking food from the hotel's buffet line and smashing plates when staff stopped him.

Jasvinder's sentence on Friday was also an enhanced one. It was backdated to July 2, from when he was remanded.

For uttering words with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of the bus driver, Jasvinder could have been jailed for up to three years and fined.

For being repeatedly drunk in a public place, he could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,000.