Man jailed for 8 weeks for assaulting cabby, fighting with security guard

SINGAPORE - An inebriated sales promoter punched a taxi driver in 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.

On Tuesday (Jan 2), he was jailed for six weeks for punching Mr Lee Nyen, 63, several times in the head in Edgefield Walk in Punggol on March 19, 2017.

He was given another two weeks' jail, which is to run consecutively to the earlier sentence, for exchanging punches with a security guard at Lot One Shoppers' Mall at Block 21, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 on March 6, 2017.

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 and 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 that the fare was more than that.

Both men got out of the taxi and Mr Lee tried to stop Tay from leaving. Tay started shouting at the victim, claiming that he had paid him.

Tay punched Mr Lee in the head, causing him to fall. He then sat on Mr Lee and continued punching him.

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

The police were told of the incident, but before they could arrive at the scene, Tay returned and tried to punch Mr Lee again. This time, the resident intervened.

"All three of them fell to the ground and the accused tried to punch the victim again,'' said DPP Yang.

Tay's father came and restrained him.

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

Tay was also involved in another incident earlier the same 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, threw the first punch at Tay's face. The fight - or affray - was captured on closed-circuit television and the footage found its way to social media platforms.

Tay, who previously underwent reformative training for unlicensed moneylending harassment, 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.