NTU professor gets jail, fine for road rage incident

Wang Jianliang, who works at NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, had pleaded guilty to committing a rash act and an act of mischief.
Wang Jianliang, who works at NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, had pleaded guilty to committing a rash act and an act of mischief.PHOTO: ST FILE

An associate professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who vented his fury at a fellow motorist in a road rage incident has received a lecture of his own in court.

Wang Jianliang, 57, was branded "belligerent" by a judge, who heard that he had braked abruptly three times in front of a car that had not given way to him.

The professor then got out of his vehicle on the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) to argue with the other driver, grabbing his arm and banging on his bonnet repeatedly, leaving it dented.

District Judge Christopher Tan jailed Wang for a week, fined him $2,000 and gave him a six-month driving ban yesterday. He said Wang's behaviour outside the car "was as belligerent as he was behind the wheel", adding: "I'm left with no doubt that this is a road rage case."

Wang, who works at NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, pleaded guilty to committing a rash act and an act of mischief. Another charge of using criminal force was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Wang and the other driver - 60-year-old Samuel Lim - had been driving near Pioneer Road North during evening rush hour on March 16, 2017, when they joined a lane that merged into a packed PIE.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said Mr Lim refused to give way to Wang, which "greatly annoyed" him: "He (Wang) intentionally sped up and drove on the road shoulder in order to overtake the victim."

 
 

When Wang was directly in front of Mr Lim's car, he abruptly jammed on the brakes twice to show his displeasure towards Mr Lim.

When he did so a third time, Mr Lim failed to brake in time and collided into Wang's rear bumper.

Both men alighted to take photos of the scene and when Mr Lim refused to hand his driving licence to Wang, Wang flew into a rage and yelled at him, the court heard.

When Mr Lim returned to his car, Wang opened Mr Lim's car door and grabbed his arm. Wang then hit Mr Lim's car window and bonnet.

The damage to Mr Lim's car came to more than $4,000.

Wang later offered to pay for the damage, but Mr Lim declined.

Defence counsel Eugene Thuraisingam called for Wang to be fined instead, citing factors such as the lack of injuries and premeditation, and the offer of compensation.

Wang is out on bail as he intends to appeal against his sentence. He has been suspended by NTU, pending disciplinary proceedings.

NTU said it "expects all members of its community to represent the highest ethical standards and to comply with the law at all times".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2019, with the headline 'NTU professor gets jail, fine for road rage incident'. Print Edition | Subscribe