Man jailed for stabbing another over wage woes

Worker says victim, who found job for him, refused to help him when he was not paid

A construction worker from China stabbed a compatriot twice in the chest after a meeting to settle an argument.

Zheng Zhongzhen, 44, admitted to using a 16cm-long kitchen knife to stab Mr Ma Shunjie, 33, and was given seven months' jail yesterday.

A District Court heard that the two started arguing during a drinking session with 13 other acquaintances at People's Park Centre on July 31 this year. Zheng and Mr Ma then left separately at about 10pm.

At about midnight, Zheng called Mr Ma to settle their differences and told him to meet him outside Paya Lebar MRT Station. Zheng took with him the kitchen knife and used it to stab Mr Ma after pushing him once.

Mr Ma suffered two wounds and was discharged after a one-day stay in hospital.

Zheng's lawyer, Mr Gregory Fong, who was assigned under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said in mitigation that Zheng was upset with Mr Ma over an earlier incident. Zheng claimed that the victim, a broker for construction workers, had introduced him to work in Singapore.

But the company that Zheng worked for did not pay him his wages, Mr Fong said. He added that when Zheng approached the victim for his unpaid wages, Mr Ma told him it was "none of his business" and that Zheng should approach the company on his own.

Mr Ma then cut off all contact with Zheng and avoided him.

Mr Fong said that on the day of the incident, Zheng and Mr Ma had again argued over the unpaid wages.

He said Zheng, a father of two, was not in a proper frame of mind after drinking and had armed himself with the knife as he feared what the victim might do to him.

Zheng's sentence was backdated to Aug 2.

The maximum punishment for causing hurt with dangerous means is seven years' jail, a fine and caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2016, with the headline 'Man jailed for stabbing another over wage woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe