Angry man choked cabby for 15 seconds

Angry man choked cabby for 15 seconds

In a fit of drunken rage, he pinned the taxi driver to the ground and had him in a chokehold for 15 seconds before witnesses pulled him away.

Arne Corneliussen, a programme management director of a courier company, attacked cabby Chan Chuan Heng, 46, after the latter told him that he was not taking any passengers as he had to go to the toilet.

Corneliussen, 50, a Norwegian national who is a Singapore permanent resident, pleaded guilty in court yesterday to one count of voluntarily causing hurt.

A second assault charge of slapping the cabby will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

The incident happened at around 1am on Sept 22 last year.

The court heard that Mr Chan had parked his taxi at the intersection of Circular and North Canal roads near Boat Quay to take a break when Corneliussen tried to open the left rear door of the taxi.

The cabby apologised to the burly Norwegian and told him that he was going to use the toilet.

Instead of looking for another taxi, Corneliussen responded by slapping his victim's right cheek.

Incensed, Mr Chan uttered an expletive and exclaimed: "Why did you hit me?"

An enraged Corneliussen lunged forward when he heard this and ran after the cabby, who had sprinted away.

After a distance of about 12m, Corneliussen stopped his pursuit, returned to the taxi and tried to open the rear passenger door again.

Mr Chan was walking back to his vehicle when Corneliussen spotted him and chased him for the second time. He caught up with the cabby when the latter fell to the ground.

CHOKEHOLD

Corneliussen pinned his victim to the ground and used one of his arms to keep him in a chokehold for about 15 seconds.

Senior operations supervisor Muhd Fairuz Jumahat, 28, and cabby Choithramani Chandrul Bhaqwandas, 45, spotted the assault.

They pulled Corneliussen off Mr Chan and Mr Choithramani called the police.

Mr Chan went to the Singapore General Hospital that day and was found to be suffering from injuries including a wound on his right arm and a fracture in his left foot. He was given seven days' medical leave.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong urged District Judge Lim Tse Haw to jail Corneliussen for at least three months.

"Having been pinned to the ground, the victim could do nothing but wait out the seconds in agony, not knowing when or even whether (Corneliussen) would release his hold and let him live," he said.

Corneliussen's lawyer, Ms Christine Ong, however, asked the judge to sentence her client to two weeks' jail instead. She said that Mr Chan did not suffer any bruises or marks on his neck after he was choked.

Ms Ong added that her client had also given the cabby $30,000 in compensation.

Corneliussen will be sentenced next Wednesday.

For voluntarily causing hurt, he can be jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.


This article was first published on March 25, 2015.
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