Worksite quarrel turns deadly

Worksite quarrel turns deadly
A construction worker struck a colleague with a wooden pole in a quarrel over some freshly laid concrete - and ended up killing him.
PHOTO: AFP

He heard two of his fellow construction workers arguing and wanted to stop the dispute.

But one of them hurled profanities and even swung a trowel, which is a small spade, at him.

So he picked up a 1.2m wooden rod and hit Chinese national Liu Chun Hua, 37, on the head.

Mr Liu collapsed and his injuries were so serious that he died in hospital 11 days later.

Yesterday, Bangladeshi national Shagar, 40, who goes by only one name, was sentenced to two years' jail for committing a rash act, which led to Mr Liu's death.

Court papers said that Shagar, who was then a construction worker with Hock Star Multi Tech, was installing glass panels at an unfinished building site at Lorong Limau in Whampoa on Aug 7 last year.

At about 10.30am, he heard a commotion between Mr Liu and a fellow construction worker, Mr Paul Rakesh Chandra. Shagar and two other workers went to investigate.

It turned out that Mr Liu had been laying cement at a stairwell when Mr Rakesh accidentally stepped on the wet cement.

This led to an argument between the two men.

As Shagar and the two other workers tried to intervene, Mr Liu became agitated and hurled vulgarities at Shagar instead.

Shagar retaliated and swore back at Mr Liu, who turned aggressive and swung a trowel at Shagar, who suffered cuts. But when Mr Liu saw Shagar picking up the wooden rod, he backed off. Shagar used the rod to hit Mr Liu's head, causing him to collapse onto the ground.

Shagar and his two fellow workers then fled the scene as a site supervisor who saw the fight tried to help Mr Liu to the ground storey.

The police were called to the scene and Shagar was arrested.

Mr Liu was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Neurointensive Care Unit in a semi-comatose state.

He was found to have suffered multiple fractures at the front of his head and a cut on the left side.

BRAIN STEM BLEEDING

The next day, doctors found Mr Liu's brain stem bleeding and placed him on life support.

Mr Liu died on Aug 18, 11 days after the fight.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang said Shagar's charge was reduced from murder to that of a rash act causing death because Mr Liu was found to be the initial aggressor.

She added that Shagar had gone to the defence of Mr Paul, but an untimely death was ultimately caused by Shagar's extremely rash act. Defence lawyer S. K. Kumar said in mitigation that Shagar had been working in Singapore for 10 years for the same company without any problems.

He added that Shagar's wife, two children aged nine and three, and his elderly parents were financially dependent on him.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo said in sentencing that a life was lost through Shagar's act and that cannot be condoned.

Judge Lee sentenced him to a two-year jail term, which was backdated to Aug 8, 2014 when he was first remanded.

For committing a rash act that caused death not amounting to culpable homicide, Shagar could have been jailed up to five years and/or fined.

Other workplace fights

MARCH 2015

A rigger was directing the unloading of a steel platform at a site in Ayer Rajah Crescent on March 23 when he spotted a fellow worker below.

He signalled to his colleague to move away, but there was a misunderstanding and a fight broke out between Mr Muhammad Fazli Osni, 22, and three colleagues, including the man he had signalled to.

Mr Fazli was found dead at his Stirling Road home two days later.It is not known if his death was connected to the brawl.

According to a copy of his death certificate, Mr Fazli's cause of death is listed as cardiorespiratory failure, pending investigations.

MARCH 2014

A live cricket match screening between Bangladesh and the West Indies at a Kaki Bukit Avenue 3 dormitory turned violent after Bangladesh lost the game.

Thirty-five foreign workers from India and Bangladesh were arrested after a mass brawl broke out on March 5 at the Homestay Residence Dormitory.

At least two workers were jailed between one and two weeks for using criminal force that night.

DECEMBER 2012

Two workers from China were working at the construction site of Cube 8, a condominium on Thomson Road, when they got into a scuffle on Dec 7, 2012.

One of the workers had been told that he was to be transferred to another work site and was unhappy with the arrangement.

After he got into a dispute with a foreman, a scuffle broke out between the two men - with pushing and shoving involved.

The police were called in and the matter was settled amicably.

rloh@sph.com.sg

 


This article was first published on June 24, 2015.
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