Storekeeper jailed six weeks for spitting at police officer's face twice

SINGAPORE - An inebriated warehouse storekeeper spat twice at a police officer's face when he was being taken in a police car to the Police Cantonment Complex, a court heard.

Lim Keng Yang, 28, had drunk half a bottle of hard liquor at a company dinner at Parkroyal hotel on Beach Road on Feb 10, 2017.

He had refused to go home after the dinner ended at about 9pm, and headed out of the ballroom and walked towards Bugis MRT station.

He was accompanied by his three colleagues who wanted to take him home since he was in a drunken state, but Lim refused, saying he wanted to visit his father's company.

His colleagues then called Lim's younger brother for help. When the 23-year-old arrived, Lim tried to board an empty taxi with no driver and was stopped by his brother and colleagues.

When his brother told him to stop behaving in that manner, Lim replied that he dared to jump down from the fourth floor.

The four grabbed him, trying to stop him from injuring himself, but Lim continued to struggle. The brother called the police, saying that his “drunkard brother” was having suicidal thoughts and was “very threatening”.

When police came, Sergeant Mohammad Firdaus Hassan, 31, tried to calm Lim down but he kept creating a scene. He was then arrested and escorted to the police vehicle.

On the way to the Police Cantonment Complex, Sgt Firdaus was seated next to Lim who kept struggling.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho said: "According to the victim (Firdaus), the accused was making a ruckus and suddenly turned around and spat at the victim's face. The victim pushed the accused's head away but some of the accused's saliva landed on the victim's face."

Sgt Firdaus warned Lim.

Lim then wanted his handcuffs removed so that he could call his father, and spat at the officer again when the latter refused to do so. His saliva landed on the victim's partner's shoulder.

Seeking a sentence of at least six weeks' jail, DPP Ho said that assaults on police officers are very serious offences, as they are front-line officers who are there to uphold the law.

"Spitting itself is uncivilised," she added.

Lim's pro bono lawyer, Mr Henry Lim, said that his client got drunk because of "family issues". He said Lim was very remorseful and wanted to apologise to the victim.

"The good thing is that he has stopped drinking," the lawyer added.

Lim was sentenced to six weeks' jail after he admitted to spitting at Sgt Firdaus' face twice. A second charge of aggressive behaviour and causing a commotion was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Lim could have been jailed for up to four years and/or fined for using criminal force on a public servant to deter him from discharging his duty.