Furious that a three-year-old boy hit his two-year-old son, a father allegedly slapped the older child. But the slap was so hard that the boy had to be taken to hospital yesterday as his right cheek had swelled up.
The man, believed to be in his 30s, was arrested by police after members of the public called the authorities and stopped him from escaping.
The two boys were believed to have been playing near a market in Toa Payoh Lorong 7 yesterday morning. They did not know each other, Lianhe Wanbao reported.
At one point, the older child hit the other boy, incurring the wrath of the latter's father.
After slapping the three-year-old, the man scolded him loudly, saying that he had not been brought up well by his family, eyewitnesses said.
The commotion attracted a crowd and some people told the man off, saying that adults should not hit young children.
Some bystanders said that the man was behaving arrogantly and pointed out that his actions could cause the boy to lose his hearing. But the man replied: "If he loses his hearing, I'll just pay compensation."
The boys' families argued for about an hour after the incident.
The three-year-old's grandfather, a 68-year-old retiree, said that he was shocked by the incident.
Yesterday was a rare occasion when the older boy had accompanied the family's maid to the market.
"It was very chaotic when the incident happened. When my grandson was hit, he was scared silly and couldn't even cry. The man who hit him later wanted to hit me, too," he said.
Retiree Shen De Rong, 71, who was at the scene, said that no matter what happened between the two kids, parents should not use force on them.
"How can a grown person do something like that to a small child? It was really barbaric," he said.
Another bystander, Cai, 60, said many members of the public did not approve of the man's actions. "He could have tried to mediate or given a scolding, but he should never physically cause hurt," said Mr Cai.
The man tried to leave the scene after hitting the three-year-old, but bystanders stopped him until the police arrived. He ended up sitting at a bench opposite a coffee shop.
After the police arrived, they questioned the man.
The police said they received a call at 9.56am requesting assistance in Toa Payoh Lorong 7 yesterday. A case of alleged assault was reported at the scene and a man was later arrested for being a public nuisance. Investigations are ongoing.
The mother of the three-year-old boy declined to be interviewed when she was at the hospital, but she was reportedly angered by the incident.
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