Three porridge shop customers jailed for going on a rampage

(From left) Tan Sung Meng and Ang Sim Poh were each sentenced to six weeks in jail while Pang Pei Pei was jailed for four weeks.
(From left) Tan Sung Meng and Ang Sim Poh were each sentenced to six weeks in jail while Pang Pei Pei was jailed for four weeks. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

When a waitress could not give them a breakdown of their $28 bill, two men and a woman went on a rampage, hurling bowls and smashing chairs onto the food counter of an eatery.

The minute-long tantrum cost Heng Long Teochew Porridge more than $10,000 in damage and losses.

The men - Tan Sung Meng, 47, and Ang Sim Poh, 49 - were each sentenced yesterday to six weeks in jail, while Pang Pei Pei, 41, was jailed for four weeks. All three pleaded guilty to one count each of committing mischief.

The court heard that at about 3.30am on May 27 last year, the three regular customers arrived at the porridge restaurant in Upper Serangoon Road for supper.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said they were intoxicated after drinking in Chinatown. They ordered food, which was delivered to them by waitress Chia Ai Cheng, 38, and the party was charged $28.

Pang asked Ms Chia repeatedly why the meal was so expensive and requested a breakdown of the price, but Ms Chia was unable to provide it. DPP Lee said Pang's anger and agitation grew as she questioned Ms Chia and culminated in her throwing her porridge bowl into the shop.

In closed-circuit television camera footage shown in court, Tan and Ang were seen joining in the rampage, hurling and smashing wooden stools, bowls and other items. A bucket of liquid was also thrown onto the ground.

The scene at Heng Long Teochew Porridge after the trio trashed the eatery over a $28 bill on May 27 last year. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Their tantrum left the front of the shop strewn with cutlery, broken stools and bowls.

No one was injured, but the shop suffered a loss of almost $10,300.

The court heard that no restitution has been made.

In mitigation, Tan's lawyer, Mr Selvarajan Balamurugan, said his client accepted that his actions were "uncivilised and foolish". The court heard that Ang and Pang were also remorseful.

Mr Balamurugan argued, as did Ang and Pang's lawyers, that the trio's outburst was triggered by Ms Chia's aggressive attitude when she was questioned about the bill.

But District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt retorted that this did not excuse their actions, which were "completely disproportionate" to whatever the waitress's attitude may have been.

Pang, who is unemployed, was given a shorter jail term after the judge noted she had previously been remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks.

For committing mischief that caused a loss of $500 and upwards, Tan, Ang and Pang could have been jailed for two years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'Three porridge shop customers jailed for going on a rampage'. Print Edition | Subscribe