Taxi driver jailed six months for assaulting two brothers in a road rage incident

Mohamed Said Salim, 42, was jailed for six months after he admitted to assaulting two brothers.
Mohamed Said Salim, 42, was jailed for six months after he admitted to assaulting two brothers.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A passing remark about his driving so angered a taxi driver that he ended up hitting the man who made the comment as well as his brother.

On Wednesday (Jan 24), the cabby, Mohamed Said Salim, 42, was jailed for six months after he admitted to punching the right eye of Mr Elfie Adam Tay, 28, who suffered a 1cm-long cut over his upper eyelid and a fracture of his eye socket.

A similar charge of punching Mr Tay's 20-year-old brother, Erwin, was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo Kee Teng said Erwin was riding pillion on his brother's motorcycle into a carpark at about 12.10am on Dec 28, 2016 when Said made a wide turn while driving out and encroached into Mr Elfie Tay's lane. Mr Tay had to steer his motorcycle towards the left to avoid a collision.

Unhappy, Mr Tay commented: "Sia lah, don't know how to drive is it'' before riding into the carpark.

On hearing the victim's words, Said reversed his vehicle. He got down and approached the two brothers who were by then seated in the void deck of the HDB block in Pasir Ris Street 11.

A dispute broke out and Said punched Mr Tay.

When Erwin tried to help, Said punched him once on his lip and left jaw before driving off. Said was arrested on Jan 3 last year.

Mr Tay was admitted to Changi General Hospital and later transferred to Singapore National Eye Centre due to the severity of his injury. He suffered double vision, among other things, and underwent surgery to repair the right eye socket fracture.

In mitigation, Said's lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said the father of three was upset and disturbed and had sought clarification from Mr Tay on the "specific words'' he uttered, which Said understood to be vulgar and demeaning in Malay.

He said Said had shown genuine remorse, shame and regret for the offence, which was a one-off incident which took place in the heat of the moment.

He added that Said, previously an executive officer with the Criminal Legal Aid Pro Bono Services Office, had received several positive commendations from his previous employers.

The lawyer added that Syed had paid full compensation to the victim.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.