SINGAPORE - A repeat offender described by the prosecution as somebody with a "proclivity to treat service workers abusively" is back behind bars after he hurled racial insults at others on three separate occasions last year.
Peethambaran Dilip, 69, was on Wednesday (May 11) sentenced to six weeks' jail after he pleaded guilty to two harassment charges.
The Singaporean also admitted to one count of uttering words with the deliberate intention of wounding a man's racial feelings.
On Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Hao said: "(Peethambaran) escalated his abuse in the present case to incorporate racist insults.
"This should be dealt with sternly, given the need to preserve racial harmony in Singapore."
The court heard that Peethambaran went to Clementi Public Library on June 9 last year, opened a dustbin and spat into it.
A cleaner who spotted him doing so reported the matter to the library's management.
Library officer Keith Lim approached Peethambaran and advised him not to spit into the dustbin as it was an unhygienic act, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unhappy, Peethambaran lashed out at Mr Lim and hurled racial insults at him.
The offender struck again on July 22 last year when he went to a polyclinic in Marine Parade to replenish his medication.
Patient service associate Cheok Lay Yean was manning a health monitoring station there when Peethambaran came forward, flung his queue ticket onto a counter and uttered insulting words at her.
The DPP said: "Cheok told the accused to stop, but he did not... The accused was known to the staff at the polyclinic because he had scolded polyclinic staff on previous occasions."
Peethambaran returned to the polyclinic on Oct 15 last year and went to a pharmacy counter, where pharmacist Russell Lim asked him if he was collecting his medication.
DPP Tan told the court: "The accused did not initially respond, but when Russell repeated his question, the accused uttered words to the effect of, 'Of course, I am here to collect my medication. If not, what am I here for?'."
Peethambaran also directed a racial slur at Mr Lim before leaving the premises. The police were alerted later that day.
These were not his first offences. Without revealing any details, the DPP said that Peethambaran committed criminal intimidation in 2005.
In 2017, he was also sentenced to six weeks' jail for assaulting a bus driver.
On Wednesday, the prosecutor urged District Judge Jasbendar Kaur to sentence Peethambaran to at least six weeks' jail, adding: "It is highly aggravating that the insulting words that the accused used were of a racist nature and evoked violent imagery.
"General deterrence strongly applies as a sentencing consideration, given that the accused committed the offences against front-line healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic on at least two separate occasions."
For uttering words with the deliberate intention of wounding another person's racial feelings, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.