Man almost blind after coffeeshop worker, 62, splashes corrosive liquid on him

Man almost blind after coffeeshop worker, 62, splashes corrosive liquid on him

Almost a year has passed since the coffeeshop dish collector was splashed with a corrosive liquid thrown by a colleague.

The attacker, dishwasher Lim Yeow Heng, was upset with Mr Tan Kah Chee for taking a dinner break with a friend.

Mr Tan, who is in a wheelchair, is still recovering from horrific injuries. Lim had attacked him with a strong alkaline solution at a coffee shop on April 5 last year.

The 65-year-old suffered chemical burns on 23 per cent of his body, was left almost blind and had to be hospitalised for 38 days after the attack at Block 464, Crawford Lane, off North Bridge Road.

In hospital, he also got sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection, but recovered.

Yesterday, Lim, 62, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt by using a corrosive substance identified in court papers as "a mixture of soda powder and water".

Mr Tan's daughter, who declined to be named, told The New Paper yesterday that her father has gone through multiple operations, including a cornea transplant on his right eye.

She said: "Both his eyes had been scarred and he has only limited sight for his left eye.

Mr Tan was a regular customer at Tai Hwa Eating House and he got to know Lim, who helped him get the job in mid-2014.

But the friendship later soured.

At around 8.25pm on April 5, Lim was not pleased when he spotted Mr Tan drinking and having a meal with a friend. Unhappy with Mr Tan for taking a break, Lim decided to teach him a lesson.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mansoor Amir said: "He knew that the victim was bigger in size than him and that he would lose if he were to fight the victim. He thus decided to throw a mixture of soda powder and water at the victim instead."


Lim went to the dishwashing bay and filled up a container with the mixture before wheeling it on a trolley towards his victim.

Court papers did not mention what the soda powder had been used for in the coffee shop.

Lim emptied the container on Mr Tan, causing injuries to many parts of his body, including his eyes, face, back, neck and abdomen.

Mr Tan was taken to the Singapore General Hospital and hospitalised until May 12. His daughter told TNP that he still has a "long way to go" before he fully recovers.

She added: "His doctors are not certain how much of his vision he will regain, but they are doing what they can.

"The doctors have been very patient and helpful. If not for them and their encouragement, I would imagine that his recovery path would have been a lot tougher."

Before handing out the sentence, District Judge Eddy Tham noted that Lim had sprung a "surprise attack" on Mr Tan over a minor dissatisfaction, causing the victim to suffer "horrific injuries".

For voluntarily causing hurt with the corrosive substance, Lim could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.

This article was first published on March 3, 2016.
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