Blood was streaming down his face, but the punches kept coming, and 70-year-old cabby Sun Chun Hua began losing consciousness. His assailant, who is bigger than him, ran off only after a young man saw the fight and called for help.
It has been almost a year and a half since he was attacked by an assistant law professor from the National University of Singapore (NUS) who had initially refused to pay his cab fare. But Mr Sun told The Straits Times that he still vividly remembers the incident.
He was speaking after the professor, Sundram Peter Soosay, was yesterday sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay $1,500 in compensation to his victim. The 43-year-old could also end up paying with his job for the attack, which District Judge Victor Yeo said was "wholly uncalled for".
An NUS spokesman told The Straits Times: "The university expects all members of its community to conduct themselves in accordance with the law.
"Dr Soosay has been convicted of a serious offence. The university has suspended him without pay since May 29 this year, and will now initiate disciplinary action."
The Straits Times understands that while NUS is still reviewing its options, termination is a possibility.
Soosay, who was born in Malaysia and is a Singapore permanent resident, boarded Mr Sun's cab in the early hours of Christmas Day in 2013 while intoxicated, and vomited soon after. He then alighted near King Albert Park, in Clementi Road, and walked away without paying the fare.
After Mr Sun chased him and threatened to call the police, Soosay handed him a $50 note. Instead of waiting for his change, he struck Mr Sun from behind, straddling him and punching his face repeatedly.
Mr Sun needed multiple stitches on his face and left arm, where he suffered a deep wound that exposed the bone, and had to be hospitalised. His injuries left him unable to work for 17 days, and it took him more than a month to regain the use of his left arm and resume driving.
Fingering his scars, Mr Sun told The Straits Times yesterday that he has since stopped driving his cab late at night and avoids picking up drunk passengers.
He added that he is not troubled about whether Soosay keeps his job or how much compensation he gets. All he wants is a sincere apology.
"I trust the police and the court to handle the case, and I believe that justice will be delivered," said Mr Sun.
"So long as he (Soosay) is sincerely remorseful, it does not matter how much he pays me. But since the incident, he has not once said he's sorry."
The cabby said he will work for as long as he can despite his family's concerns about his safety. He and his 61-year-old wife have four grown-up children.
He also said he wants to thank the young man who had called for help.
"I don't even know his name or how to reach him, but I really want to tell him he was my saviour. I don't know what would have happened had he not called out to stop the man," said Mr Sun, who spoke to The Straits Times at an Ang Mo Kio coffee shop near his home.
Soosay, who initially claimed that Mr Sun was the first to attack - a testimony that Judge Yeo called "convenient conjecture and hypothesis" - told the court yesterday through his lawyer that he would be appealing his conviction and sentence.
This article was first published on June 27, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.