Suspect in train abuse case arrested

The man (left) in the video appeared drunk, said the victim, Mr Joe DeMarini.
The man (left) in the video appeared drunk, said the victim, Mr Joe DeMarini.PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOE DEMARINI/ FACEBOOK

A 70-year-old man, who allegedly was shown in a now-viral video shouting at and slapping a foreigner on a train, has been arrested for causing public nuisance and voluntarily causing hurt.

The police said in a statement yesterday that they received a report on Friday about a man repeatedly using offensive language and assaulting a commuter on an MRT train. The victim, Mr Joe DeMarini, uploaded the video on his Facebook page on Thursday. The incident reportedly happened on the North East Line on Wednesday night.

Mr DeMarini said the man appeared drunk and approached him and a female friend and made sexual advances on him.

When Mr DeMarini's friend intervened, the man allegedly yelled and threatened her. Others on the train stepped in, too, to try to defuse the situation, while several started taking videos, he said.

"He touched me and I told him not to, and I briefly lost my temper. After that, he slapped me on the side of the head," Mr DeMarini alleged.

The video shows a woman and, later, a man stepping in to try to placate and reason with the 70-year-old man. The four-minute-long clip has been viewed more than 1.2 million times.


Mr DeMarini, who is from Pennsylvania in the United States, received an outpouring of support from Singaporeans afterwards, with many apologising on the man's behalf and welcoming him to Singapore.

Officers from Ang Mo Kio Division identified the suspect and arrested him in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 on Friday at about 10pm.

Those convicted of the offence of public nuisance can be fined up to $1,000, while those convicted of the offence of voluntarily causing hurt can be jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 23, 2017, with the headline 'Suspect in train abuse case arrested'. Print Edition | Subscribe