Police reports lodged over Toa Payoh hawker centre table dispute

A couple shouted and pushed an elderly man who wanted to share a table at a hawker centre with them on April 21, 2017. SCREENGRAB: FACEBOOK/MANNY QUEST
The video showed the woman, who was dressed in white, shouting at the elderly man, before her male companion shoves the elderly man from behind. PHOTO: THE LOCAL SOCIETY/ FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Police reports have been lodged over the Toa Payoh hawker centre table dispute.

The Police said that they were looking into the matter and have asked for anyone with information to call 1800-255-0000, or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

They added that all information from the public would be kept confidential.

The incident, which happened at about 8.45pm on Friday (April 21), involved an elderly man and a young couple. It was filmed by a bystander who shared the video on Facebook.

The video showed the woman, who was dressed in white, shouting at the elderly man, before her male companion shoves the elderly man from behind.

This apparently involved a dispute over sharing the table.

Since it was posted at around midnight on Sunday (April 23), the video has been viewed 2.5 million times, as of 7pm on Monday (April 24).

Ms Janice Lim, who was having dinner at the hawker centre on Friday (April 21), said she was sitting at a nearby table when the incident happened.

It was very crowded, and the table in dispute was the only available one in the area at the time, she said.

Ms Lim, who spoke to The Straits Times on Sunday (April 23), said she looked over when she heard a woman shouting.

The elderly man, who was holding a tray of food, was asking the woman how many people were sitting at the table.

The woman's irritated reply was "can't you see it's reserved", Ms Lim said, adding that there was a small foldable umbrella on the table, which was also filled with dishes and leftover food from previous patrons.

The elderly man said he could not, and repeated a few times that he just needed one seat, but did not raise his voice, she said.

He also asked the woman what she meant by "reserve", as the hawker centre was a public place, Ms Lim recounted.

The woman continued to say loudly things like "you don't understand the word reservation?", and called him a "bl**dy old man" and "f******* old man", according to Ms Lim.

The angry young woman then called her companion, and told him that the elderly man was trying to take their table. Shortly after that, the young man shoved the old man from behind.

The elderly man nearly lost his balance from the shove, but managed to stay on his feet by holding onto the table.

The young man then asked him: "Why you disturb her?"

Since the video went viral, netizens have also tried to identify the couple involved and shame them online.

Student Ms Cherry Tan, 22, found herself at the centre of this incident after some netizens wrongfully identified her and her boyfriend as being the couple in the video.

She released a statement on her Facebook account, which said: "I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that my boyfriend and I were never involved in the case. Furthermore, as a full-time student, I had never worked with a bank."

Speaking to The Straits Times, Ms Tan says that the saga had not only hurt her, but had also distressed her family and friends.

On Sunday evening (April 23), in response to online speculation that the couple worked at UOB, the bank clarified that this was untrue.

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