Traumatised cabby: Tall passengers make me anxious

Traumatised cabby: Tall passengers make me anxious
Cabby who was assaulted by his passenger.
PHOTO: TNP

When he first started driving a taxi, Mr Ee Kah Ling's biggest worry was meeting unruly customers.

Five months into the job, his worst fears were realised when a hostile passenger rained kicks and punches on him after refusing to pay the fare.

Mr Ee's attacker, Dutch national Dino Petrus Johannes Van Deijzen, was jailed for three weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt.

Eight months have passed since that day last October, but memories of the assault remain vivid in Mr Ee's mind.

He spoke about the Oct 21 incident to The New Paper yesterday.

Mr Ee, 43, said: "I have forgiven him, but I won't be able to forget."

At about 12.30am, Mr Ee, who was working the night shift, picked up Van Deijzen and his girlfriend at Dunlop Street in Little India.

DRUNK

Both were drunk, Mr Ee said.

"They reeked of alcohol and couldn't walk straight. They just slept in my taxi."

When Mr Ee arrived at their destination at Ang Mo Kio, the woman threw up in the back seat.

"There was a pool of vomit on the rear passenger seat so both of them got out of the cab," he said.

The pair began walking away without paying the $20 fare.

"I asked them how they wanted to settle the mess, but they just walked farther and farther away.

"That's when I raised my voice and said I would call the police."

When Mr Ee returned to his taxi to get his mobile phone from the dashboard, Van Deijzen slammed the door on his back.

"I was so shocked and tried to get away, but he slammed the door against me again and again.

"It felt like I had a knife stuck in my back. It was so painful that I was crying."

Mr Ee eventually broke free and fled, but Van Deijzen gave chase.

"As I ran, I called the police, but he was charging at me so quickly that I couldn't even get a word in before he pushed me to the ground."

The act of violence was captured by Mr Ee's in-vehicle camera. He showed TNP the footage yesterday.

In the video, Mr Ee was no match for the towering Van Deijzen, who dragged him across the ground with ease.

Van Deijzen's blows were so fast and furious that Mr Ee was unable to escape.

The assault lasted seconds, but felt like eternity to Mr Ee, who said: "I thought it was never going to end. After a while, I just felt numb."

Mr Ee suffered multiple abrasions on his arms and legs and slight redness of his chest.

Mr Ee is trying to put the episode behind him, but although the physical wounds have healed, he is still affected mentally.

"I still get nightmares of being beaten up from time to time. And when I pick up tall men, I get anxious and start to worry."

Looking back, he regrets pursuing the couple over their $20 fare.

"It's not worth all the pain, mental torture and loss of income."

His medical bills amounted to more than $300.

While his two sons, aged 14 and 16, have urged him to find a new job, Mr Ee has no plans to stop driving his taxi.

He said: "People like Van Deijzen are the black sheep. Most of my passengers are really nice.

"They are the ones who keep me going."


This article was first published on June 20, 2015.
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