Man jailed for spitting at police officer twice

An inebriated warehouse storekeeper spat twice at a police officer's face when he was being taken in a police car to the Police Cantonment Complex, a court heard.

Lim Keng Yang, 28, had drunk half a bottle of hard liquor at a company dinner at Parkroyal hotel in Beach Road on Feb 10.

He refused to go home after the dinner ended at about 9pm, and headed out of the ballroom and walked towards Bugis MRT station. His colleagues had wanted to take him home but Lim said he wanted to visit his father's company.

His colleagues then called Lim's younger brother for help. When the 23-year-old arrived, Lim tried to board an empty taxi, which had no driver at the time. When his brother told him to stop behaving in that manner, Lim replied that he dared to jump down from the fourth floor.

The brother, with three of Lim's colleagues, grabbed him but he continued to struggle. The brother then called the police, saying Lim was having "suicidal thoughts and is very threatening right now''.

When the police came, Sergeant Mohammad Firdaus Hassan, 31, the victim, tried to calm Lim down but he kept creating a scene. He was then arrested and escorted to the police vehicle.

On the way to the Police Cantonment Complex, Sgt Firdaus was seated next to Lim who kept struggling.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho said: "According to the victim, the accused was making a ruckus and suddenly turned around and spat at the victim's face. The victim pushed the accused's head away but some of the accused's saliva landed on the victim's face."

Sgt Firdaus warned Lim.

Lim then wanted his handcuffs removed so he could call his father, and spat at the officer again when his request was denied. His saliva landed on the shoulder of the victim's partner.

Seeking a sentence of at least six weeks' jail, DPP Ho said that assault on police officers is a very serious offence, as they are front-line officers who are there to uphold the law. "Spitting itself is uncivilised," she added.

Lim's pro bono lawyer Henry Lim said that his client got drunk because of "family issues". He said Lim had stopped drinking and was very remorseful.

Lim was jailed for six weeks yesterday after he admitted to spitting at Sgt Firdaus' face twice. A second charge of aggressive behaviour and causing a commotion was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Lim could have been jailed for up to four years and/or fined for using criminal force on a public servant to deter him from discharging his duty.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline Man jailed for spitting at police officer twice. Subscribe