Parking enforcement officer attacked after issuing summons

Parking enforcement officer attacked after issuing summons
JAILED: Ong Chuan Soon (above) was jailed yesterday for four months for attacking Mr Victor Kumaran with a wooden pole.

As a parking enforcement officer, he is constantly on the lookout for illegally parked vehicles.

And he is scolded by as many as 10 errant motorists a day, he said.

But Mr Victor Kumaran, who has been working for Certis Cisco for nearly 10 years, normally shrugs them off.

Not this time though.

On Jan 21 last year, one man gave Mr Victor, 30, the shock of his life when he attacked him with a 1.6m-long wooden pole for giving his friend a parking summons.

"He tried to hit my head with the pole. Luckily, I managed to block the blow with my left arm and it landed on the elbow," he told The New Paper yesterday.

The incident took place at Banda Street near Chinatown.

Ong Chuan Soon, 47, a contractor, was jailed for four months yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt with an instrument that was used as a weapon.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jesintha Veijayaratnam said that Mr Victor was carrying out carpark enforcement duties for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) that day. His duties included issuing summons to vehicles that were illegally parked along the roadside.

At around 11.45am, he was patrolling Banda Street when he saw a car and a lorry illegally parked on the road with the double yellow line.

He warned the vehicle owners to move them, telling them that enforcement action would be taken if they did not do so.

But when Mr Victor returned to the same spot about five hours later, the two vehicles were still there. He then decided to issue the summons - $80 each.

While he was doing that, Ong's friend, Mr Lian Hoe Heng, 48, approached Mr Victor and told him that he had to park his car there as there were no available lots in the vicinity.

Mr Victor continued to issue a summons against the car and was heading towards the lorry when Ong came forward and hurled vulgarities at him.

DPP Jesintha said: "He was unhappy that (Mr Victor) continued to issue the summons despite (Mr Lian's) pleas and explanations... A heated argument subsequently ensured."

THREATEN

Ong picked up a short iron pole and held it in his hands to threaten the enforcement officer.

Mr Victor told TNP: "He was coming towards me when another one of his friends stopped him. I phoned the police to tell them about the incident. He then threw the pole onto the ground and walked into a nearby tentage.

"I decided to take photographs of him in case the police needed them for their investigations."

Ong became furious when he spotted him doing so and told him to stop. Another heated argument broke out when Mr Victor continued snapping photographs of him.

At around 4.45pm, Ong picked up the wooden rod and swung it at Mr Victor.

"When he attacked me, I asked him: 'What are you trying to do?'. Even though I was not afraid, I was shocked that he would do that," he said.

Mr Lian intervened and separated the pair. Ong threw the wooden rod on the ground before walking away and Mr Victor made another call to the police.

Officers arrived at the scene within minutes, but Ong had left by then.

Mr Victor said that he showed the officers the pictures he had taken and they managed to arrest Ong soon afterwards.

Said Mr Victor: "I was taken to the Singapore General Hospital and was found to have bruises on my left elbow and fingers. I was discharged later that day and was given a two-day medical leave."

In mitigation, Ong's lawyer, Mr Ong Peng Boon, told District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid that his client is remorseful and had given Mr Victor $108 in compensation. He added that the injuries were not serious.

Mr Victor confirmed that he received the money a few weeks ago.

When asked how he felt about the incident, he said that he was merely doing his job when he was attacked.

"People might be unhappy with the summons I issue them. But I'm just performing my duties."

In a joint statement, Certis Cisco and the URA said that their patrolling officers provide an important public service to ensure that motorists comply with parking regulations for the benefit of all road users.

They said: "They deserve due respect and a safe working environment. We will not condone errant and abusive behaviour towards them, and abuses against them will be severely dealt with by the law."

For committing the offence, Ong could have been jailed up to seven years, fined, caned or received any combination of such punishments.


This article was first published on February 28, 2015.
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