Man gets jail, caning for assaulting pub patron who suffered permanent eye injury

Vincent Chong Kok Beng was jailed for 2½ years for hitting a pub patron in his eye with a drinking glass.
Vincent Chong Kok Beng was jailed for 2½ years for hitting a pub patron in his eye with a drinking glass.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 38-year-old man hit a pub patron in his eye with a drinking glass, causing the victim permanent eye damage, a court heard.

On Wednesday (Sept 21), Vincent Chong Kok Beng was jailed for 2½ years with three strokes of the cane, having earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt.

A district court heard that the victim, Mr Lim Chien Hao, 36, and his friends were drinking at a pub called Sakura at Lorong 27A Geylang at about 12am on Dec 3, 2014. They were celebrating a colleague's and Mr Lim's birthday.

Mr Lim's friends were seated near Chong and his friends, and later, Mr Lim invited Chong's female friend to join Mr Lim's group.

She drank with Mr Lim and his friends for a while before returning to Chong's group.

Later, Mr Lim went over to Chong's group a few times to ask for his female friend's contact number.

At about 2am, Mr Lim went over to the group again, but returned with his shirt and face drenched with beer, the court heard.

A few minutes later, Chong went over to Mr Lim and hit his left eye with a drinking glass, causing the latter's face to bleed.

Mr Lim's friends asked Chong why he assaulted Mr Lim, but Chong did not reply.

Shortly after, a brawl broke out in the pub between various patrons, including some of Mr Lim's and Chong's friends.

Mr Lim was taken to hospital with cuts to his left upper eyelid and the outer layer of his left eye. He also had cuts to the forehead and ear, and was warded for four days.

He was later advised to go for a second eye operation. But Mr Lim, who is Malaysian, opted to see an eye specialist in Penang due to financial constraints.

A medical report dated July 13 last year stated that Mr Lim's left eye injury was permanent. There was extensive detachment of both the retina, a light-sensitive layer of tissue, and the choroid, the vascular layer of the eye that contains connective tissue.

The report also said there is a likelihood of Mr Lim going blind in the left eye in future.

Chong has not made any compensation to Mr Lim. In mitigation, Chong said: "Your Honour, I am sorry for committing the offence. I am remorseful."

Chong said he is HIV positive and pleaded for leniency. He also told the court that his father, who is 70, is suffering from stage 3 cancer of the stomach and throat.

District Judge Eddy Tham noted that the assault had involved the use of a weapon and had caused permanent injury.

For causing grievous hurt, Chong could have been jailed for 10 years, and fined or caned.

Chong was jailed two years with three strokes of the cane in 2001 for rioting. He was also jailed for four months in 2012 for causing hurt to a public servant.