An unemployed man was yesterday sentenced to 22 months' jail and three strokes of the cane for attacking a taxi driver with a chopper.
On May 13 at about 10pm, Goh Tong Chien, 22, met his girlfriend and another male friend at Block 432, Tampines Street 41, where they had a chat.
Goh had taken along a chopper, which he wrapped in newspaper and placed in a green bag.
During the meeting, they talked about their family and financial problems and Goh suggested they find an old taxi driver to rob. Goh's girlfriend Eng Wan Fong, 22, and their friend Tan Jing Zi, 23, agreed.
At about midnight on May 14, they flagged down Mr Sazali Abdullah's Trans-Cab taxi on Tampines Avenue 9.
Tan, who sat in the front passenger seat, told Mr Sazali to drive to Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.
During the journey, Goh spoke to Eng and Tan in Mandarin and told them to get out of the taxi to act as lookouts while he attacked the cabby and robbed him.
At the junction of Old Choa Chu Kang Road, Eng told Mr Sazali to continue towards Lim Chu Kang Cemetery Path 11.
By then, it was about 1am.
When the cab stopped, Eng and Tan rushed out of the vehicle and Goh pulled out the chopper to attack the driver.
Seated behind Mr Sazali, Goh tried to strike the 58-year-old man's body with the chopper, but the older man used his right hand to block the attacks.
He was slashed on his right index finger, lower lip and forehead.
Blood splattered all over the taxi, which scared Goh, who then fled the vehicle without taking anything.
While running towards Tan and Eng, his left slipper slipped off.
He also threw the chopper into a nearby drain.
Mr Sazali drove out of the cemetery to Lim Chu Kang Road, where he called the police. Emergency responders took him to the National University Hospital for treatment.
At about 4am the same day, the trio were arrested.
Tan and Eng will be sentenced in January after the judge called for a probation report.
Goh also pleaded guilty to two other offences of causing hurt and theft.
On Feb 24, Goh returned to his aunt's Bedok Reservoir home intoxicated after drinking at a nearby coffee shop.
After a confrontation in which he shouted at two of his aunts about his mobile phone, a third aunt came out of her room to tell him that he had left it on the dining table. She then went back into her room.
Upset, he started banging on that aunt's door. As the other two women were unable to calm him down, one of them called the police. Goh then walked towards that aunt and punched her in the left eye.
On Aug 17, 2014, Goh stole two cans of Tiger beer from a shop in Eunos by hiding them under his shirt. He was caught the same day.
In mitigation, Goh's lawyer Rajan Supramaniam, who was representing him under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said Goh was a troubled teen who had developmental problems.
He grew up in a temple where his mother was a cook, but was forced to leave at the age of eight after he hit a priest's wife.
Goh then had a series of admissions to the Institute of Mental Health for alcohol intoxication and violence-related issues.
He also has a previous offence of voluntary causing hurt, for which he was sentenced to one month in prison in February last year.
During sentencing, District Judge Low Wee Ping noted his concern about Goh's well-being after he was released from prison because of his lack of family support. He backdated Goh's sentence to May 15.
For hurting the taxi driver, Goh could have been sentenced to seven years' jail, a fine, caning, or any combination of the three.
Goh had previously been charged with robbery, for which he could have been punished with up to 14 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
This article was first published on Dec 23, 2015.
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