Japanese GM fined for causing chemical burns on train

Japanese GM fined for causing chemical burns on train

What started out as a regular MRT journey to work became a nightmare when she sat on corrosive liquid on a train seat.

Ms Wan Zahfirah Ashad suffered chemical burns on her buttocks and had to undergo skin grafting as a result.

The 25-year-old nurse also developed post-traumatic stress disorder and is now seeing a psychiatrist.

The man responsible for her agony, restaurant general manager Susukida Ryuji, 53, was fined $4,500 yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt by performing a negligent act.

The Japanese national, who co-founded Men-Ya Kaiko restaurant, was carrying a bottle of the colourless and corrosive Clean-it Concentrated Dishmachine Detergent when he boarded a train at Marina Bay MRT station around 10.50am on May 2 last year.

He was on his way from the restaurant's Marina Bay branch to the one at Ion Orchard, where there was a shortage of the detergent.

Leaking

He placed the bottle, which he knew was leaking, on a seat beside him.

He alighted at Orchard station 13 minutes later without trying to clean up the liquid which had leaked onto the seat. Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Carene Poh said Ryuji also failed to notify the authorities about the leakage.

Ms Wan Zahfirah, who boarded the same train around 11.40am at Woodlands station, sat on the affected seat and felt a sharp pain. She got off at the next station, Kranji, and took a taxi home.

When she undressed and noticed a black patch on her left buttock and red patches on her right, she immediately took a taxi to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Singapore General Hospital.

DPP Poh said that Ms Wan Zahfirah had to be on medical leave for almost five months because of the incident.

Ryuji's lawyer, Mr Thong Chee Kun, told District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid that his client was remorseful and was willing to compensate Ms Wan Zahfirah.

For causing grievous hurt by a negligent act, Ryuji could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg

This article was published on Aug 23 in The New Paper.

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