Norwegian jailed for assaulting two cabbies

Tore Robech punched cabby Foo Chai Teng and kicked his face while in an inebriated state. He also kicked another cabby, Mr Mohamed Jumaidig Mohamed Siti, in the chest.
Tore Robech punched cabby Foo Chai Teng and kicked his face while in an inebriated state. He also kicked another cabby, Mr Mohamed Jumaidig Mohamed Siti, in the chest.

An inebriated Norwegian national punched a taxi driver on the cheek and delivered a kick through the taxi window after a dispute over his intended destination.

When another taxi driver stepped in to help cabby Foo Chai Teng, 51, resolve the dispute, he was attacked. Real estate agent Tore Robech, 43, picked up his shoe and threw it in the direction of Mr Mohamed Jumaidig Mohamed Siti's taxi. When the 33-year-old cabby approached the Norwegian, Robech rushed towards him and kicked him in the chest.

Yesterday, Robech was sentenced to one month and two weeks in jail after he admitted to causing hurt to Mr Foo and Mr Jumaidig at Orchard Towers in the early hours of July 20.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling told District Judge Adam Nakhoda that a police officer was patrolling near Orchard Towers at 2.55am that day when he saw Mr Foo holding on to Robech's leg through the window of the driver's seat. Mr Foo was bleeding in the mouth and Robech was reeking of alcohol.

The assault occurred after Mr Foo misheard Robech as saying he wanted to be taken to Costa Rica Hotel when he had actually said Nostalgia Hotel in Tiong Bahru.

When the cabby told Robech, who was standing outside the taxi, that there was no such hotel, he punched Mr Foo on the cheek and kicked his face through the driver's window. Mr Foo then grabbed hold of Robech's leg to prevent him from further assault.

Mr Jumaidig was dropping off a passenger when he saw the attack and wanted to help.

Robech's lawyer Chandra Mohan K. Nair said his client, who arrived in Singapore the day before the incident, had acted on impulse.

"He is truly ashamed and remorseful of his behaviour and extremely sorry for causing hurt to others, and promises this will not happen again as he normally does not drink," said the lawyer. The experience had brought his client a great deal of sadness and shame, and his long stay had strained him financially and emotionally.

Robech, who starts his sentence today, could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 per charge. A third charge of mischief was considered in sentencing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Norwegian jailed for assaulting two cabbies'. Print Edition | Subscribe