Prison officer fined $2k for causing hurt to another man at Tampines bus interchange

Nur Azam Ab Rahman was fined $2000 at State Courts on May 18, 2017, for voluntarily causing hurt to Cheng Chin Lin.
Nur Azam Ab Rahman was fined $2000 at State Courts on May 18, 2017, for voluntarily causing hurt to Cheng Chin Lin. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Feeling offended that a credit card promoter had asked if he was a Singaporean or Singapore permanent resident, a prison officer lashed out by punching the man several times on the face and stomach.

Nur Azam Ab Rahman, 31, was approached by Mr Cheng Chin Lin, 24, who worked as a direct sales officer with United Overseas Bank, at Tampines Bus Interchange at Block 512 Tampines Central 1 on April 16 last year.

Mr Cheng, whose job required him to approach members of the public to promote UOB's credit cards, asked Azam if he was a Singaporean or a Singapore PR, which was a normal question in the course of his work.

Azam took offence at the question and replied: "Do I look like a PR to you?"

Mr Cheng was trying to calm him down when Azam punched him. Mr Cheng then tried to hold onto Azam's bag to prevent him from leaving the area, which resulted in Azam punching and kicking the victim again.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Siti Adrianni Marhain said Azam flung the victim's mobile phone during a scuffle.

Video footage of the incident, which was shown in court, showed Mr Cheng had his attacker in a headlock with Azam repeatedly punching the victim's stomach.

After Azam broke free from the headlock, he high-kicked the victim's head and grabbed his hair.

A bystander broke up the scuffle.

Mr Cheng then said he wanted to call the police. Azam walked away and Mr Cheng followed him.

Azam landed two more hits on the victim's head before the victim got Azam into another headlock, but Azam still managed to punch the victim's head after escaping from the headlock.

Mr Cheng sought treatment and was diagnosed with multiple contusions.

DPP Siti Adrianni asked for a "high fine", saying the offence occurred for some time in a public place and was completely unprovoked.

District Judge Kenneth Yap remarked that the headlock was "quite an aggressive way to detain a person".

Azam's lawyer T.M. Sinnadurai said the father of two had made $350 compensation to the victim, was very remorseful and utterly regretted his actions.

He said the headlock was not "light", and his client was trying to get out of the headlock.

Counsel also pointed out that the victim was bigger than his client, and the video showed that he was trying to console his toddler daughter who appeared to be "fearful and crying".

Azam was fined $2,000 on Thursday (May 18) after he admitted to hurting Mr Cheng. He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.