Nine weeks' jail for drunk man who chased cabby to hospital lobby to assault him

SINGAPORE - An intoxicated man boarded a taxi with a friend and kicked the driver who had merely tried to ascertain the exact location of their destination.

When the shaken taxi driver got out of his vehicle, Chinese national Li Chuanbin, 44, chased him to a nearby hospital lobby and rained more blows on him.

Li, a Singapore permanent resident who is a maintenance worker, was sentenced to nine weeks' jail on Wednesday (Feb 28) after pleading guilty last month to one count of assault.

The court heard that Li and his friend, Mr Guo Yong, 40, boarded a taxi in Victoria Street that another friend had flagged down for them at around 8.35pm on Sept 10 last year.

The friend told the driver, Mr Lim Xiao Hwee, 48, to drive the pair to Eunos Techpark in Kaki Bukit Place.

Along the way, Mr Lim asked Mr Guo to tell him exactly where they wanted to go. At this point Li, who was sitting directly behind the driver, suddenly became agitated and kicked him on his lower back.

"Fearing for his safety, the victim turned left into Ophir Road and stopped the taxi at a bus stop... opposite Raffles Hospital," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua.

The driver told the two men that he no longer wished to drive them. Mr Guo flagged another taxi and left but Li grabbed the cabby's left arm.

Mr Lim managed to break free and ran out of the taxi but Li chased him to the lobby of the nearby hospital. He kicked and punched the driver until the hospital security managed to separate the pair.

The police arrived and medical examinations showed that Mr Lim had scratch marks on his left arm and suffered bruising to his chest and back.

Li will surrender himself at the State Courts on March 2 to begin serving his sentence after District Judge Kessler Soh granted his request for a deferment.

For committing assault, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.