Man gets 5 weeks' jail for assaulting taxi driver

SINGAPORE - He slammed the taxi door shut during a dispute with his girlfriend and told the cabby not to drive her.

When taxi driver Goei Ah Gee alighted to check if the door was damaged, Dino Teo Wei Chiang, 23, punched the 41-year-old SMRT cabby repeatedly in the face.

On Tuesday (Dec 12), Teo, who is unemployed, was sentenced to five weeks' jail after he admitted to hurting the taxi driver.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo Kee Teng said Teo and his 22-year-old girlfriend were at the taxi stand at VivoCity at 5.55am on Jan 29, 2016, when they started quarrelling.

Teo's girlfriend boarded Mr Goei's taxi but Teo told the driver not to take her, and forcefully slammed the taxi's door shut.

When Mr Goei got down to check, Teo punched him in the face several times.

That afternoon, Mr Goei sought medical attention at Singapore General Hospital and had to be put on two days' medical leave for a bruise on his nose and a bone behind his ear.

Teo's lawyer S. S. Dhillon said Teo and his girlfriend had had an enjoyable time drinking with friends at Club Luxi in St James the night before.

Pleading for leniency, he said Teo was sincerely remorseful for having committed the offence. In retrospect, he should have controlled his anger when the victim approached him at the taxi stand after he had slammed his door, the lawyer said.

Mr Dhillon added that had the victim remained in the taxi and not interfered in the quarrel, such a fracas would not have taken place.

DPP Yeo, who asked for at least five weeks' jail, said Teo was clearly the aggressor. There was no reason for him to punch the taxi driver repeatedly after the victim had alighted from his taxi.

Teo, he said, had assaulted the victim on a vulnerable part of his body - his nose and his face.

Teo is out on a $5,000 personal bond and will surrender on Jan 5 to begin his sentence. He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.