Jail for man who was part of a crowd which was aggressive towards police officers

An aggressive crowd of up to 100 people forced a policeman to point his service revolver at them for his own safety in a Geylang back lane, a court heard yesterday.

But a 48-year-old man, who was undeterred, challenged the officer to shoot him instead.

Yesterday, a 52-year-old man who was part of the crowd, Ho Wee Kee, was jailed for eight months after he pleaded guilty to a count of disorderly behaviour and to a separate charge of causing grievous hurt. Another count of causing hurt was taken into consideration in sentencing.

A district court heard that at about 9.45pm on July 24 last year, five officers from Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre on anti- vice duties saw an 18-year-old promoting a game of "Si Gor Luck" at a makeshift gaming table in the back lane between Lorong 14 and Lorong 16 Geylang.

Suspecting that he was promoting illegal gambling, they had to use force to handcuff the teenager, as he resisted arrest and tried to flee.

While the policemen were doing so, a crowd of about 80 to 100 people gathered. They became agitated, and shouted at the officers to release the teenager.

The crowd then moved towards the policemen while shouting vulgarities and gesticulating aggressively. One man flipped over a gaming table beside the officers while another man took the metal table stand and waved it at them.

The officers continued retreating until they were backed up against the wall. Fearing for their safety, a sergeant drew his revolver and pointed it at the crowd. His finger was not on the trigger and he pointed only the gun's laser at the crowd.

This prompted the people, including Ho, to step back, but the 48-year-old, Ho Hock Hui, confronted the officer. The policeman then put his revolver back in its holster.

Shortly after, more policemen arrived and dispersed the crowd. The incident was partially captured on closed-circuit television cameras.

On Nov 20, 2014, Ho Wee Kee also assaulted two men at a coffee shop in Lorong 18 Geylang. At about 5.30am, a 31-year-old man accidentally bumped into Ho's friend, sparking a quarrel between them.

Ho became agitated and picked up two beer bottles. He smashed one on the man's head, knocking him unconscious and breaking his nose. Ho smashed the other bottle over a 21-year-old friend of the victim, who went over to help him.

Ho and four or five friends then kicked and punched the two men, who managed to flee and call the police. Ho and his friends fled before the police arrived.

District Judge Michelle Yap sentenced Ho to six months' jail on his charge of causing grievous hurt, and to two months on his count of disorderly behaviour, with both sentences to run consecutively and backdated to his date of remand on March 14.

For causing grievous hurt, Ho, who has a string of convictions for affray and assault dating back to the 1980s, could have been jailed for 10 years and fined or caned. For behaving in a disorderly manner, on a second or subsequent conviction, he could have been jailed for a year and fined $5,000.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article stated that Ho Wee Kee challenged the policeman to shoot him. This is incorrect. Ho Wee Kee, who was in the crowd, stepped back, but Ho Hock Hui confronted the policeman. We are sorry for the error.

An earlier version of this article's headline also reflected the error. It has been changed.

This article was first published on April 5, 2016.
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