Quan Yifeng pleads guilty to mischief

Television host Quan Yifeng yesterday pleaded guilty in court to one count of mischief in an incident involving a cabby more than a year ago, and could be placed on probation.

The 37-year-old Taiwan- born MediaCorp artist admitted to pulling out the fare meter and spilling water on the receipt printer in Mr Chan Swee Kong's taxi during a dispute on June 26 last year. The damage amounted to about $70.

Two other charges - comprising another count of mischief and one count of criminal force - will be taken into consideration when she is sentenced on Dec 29. Quan, whose name appears as Chuan Yi Fong in the charges, is represented by lawyers Subhas Anandan and Sunil Sudheesan.

Mr Anandan appealed for probation for Quan. He referred to her mental state at the time of the offences, and said that she was "labouring under the effects of her depression" and it substantially contributed to her inappropriate response.

District Judge Low Wee Ping ordered a probation report, which meant that the artist could be put on probation.

Judge Low said a probation report is "seldom" called for, for an offender over 20 years old, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The order was made after Quan's psychiatric report was submitted in court.

Mr Anandan also requested the judge to not take her public altercation in 1996 into consideration, as it happened a long time ago. Then 23 years old, Quan was fined $1,000 for fighting with a bowling-alley attendant.

Yesterday's hearing arose from an incident in which Quan commented on the bad service of the 53-year-old cabby, after he refused to help load her luggage into the boot of the taxi.

The court heard that soon after, Mr Chan slammed on the brakes to avoid a collision with a vehicle, throwing the TV host and her then 11-year-old daughter forward.

The situation worsened when Quan messed up Mr Chan's belongings and damaged the taxi equipment. She had earlier denied guilt.

Yesterday, Quan wore a worried look as she was accompanied to court by her grandaunt, former TV host Mary Chen Ming Li, and her manager, Ms Teo Lian Huay.

However, Quan - sporting a red hairdo and a black blouse - was collected during the hearing. Mr Anandan later told reporters that she is "doing well".

She initially called for a press conference after the hearing but it was called off at the eleventh hour. Mr Anandan said it was "inappropriate to comment" on the case before the sentencing.

The maximum penalty for mischief is a year's imprisonment and/or a fine.

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