Man fined $5,000 for assaulting teen who beat him in arcade game

HUMILIATED: Engineer Lau Teck Guan.

Whack. Slam. Game over.

This is not a multi-player online game. The violence happened in real life at the TKA Virtualand Arcade at Bugis Junction shopping mall in May 2011.

A humiliated adult beat up a teen for defeating him more than once in a racing game.

The case came to a conclusion on Thursday when Lau Teck Guan, 34, was fined the maximum $5,000 after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to the teenager.

It started when Alex (not his real name as he was a minor at the time) and his friend were at the arcade. His friend who played first lost a racing game, Maximum Tune 3DX+, to Lau.

Alex, who was 15 then, took over and outplayed Lau at least twice.

He was basking in his victory when Lau turned towards him and gave him a stare.

Alex asked Lau what he was staring at.

The sore loser rose from his seat, mumbled something, then punched the youngster once on his left eye.

The applications engineer also punched the teen on the left cheek before slamming his head against the steering wheel of the gaming machine.

Shocked, the teen cried.

Fortunately, two men nearby stepped in to stop Lau.

Alex then called his parents and the police.

His father, a 46-year-old store supervisor, said he and his wife rushed to the arcade to find their son nursing a swollen face.

The slim teenager, who is now a student at the Institute of Technical Education, told The New Paper: "My left eye was blue-black and I was in pain. I'm lucky that I didn't suffer any fractures. It took me about a month to recover. But I've totally recovered and am fine now."

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Paul Wong told District Judge Christopher Goh that Lau had fled by the time Alex's parents and the police arrived.

He was caught when the teenager spotted him several months later at another arcade and called the police.

MUCH LARGER

DPP Wong urged the judge to jail Lau, stressing that the engineer was much larger than his victim. He said that Lau also did not cooperate with the police.

He said: "(He) left the scene soon after (the incident) and finally, when the police managed to track (him) months later, (he) feigned ignorance during investigations and stated that he did not remember the incident."

In his mitigation, Lau's lawyer, Mr Jeeva Joethy, said that Alex had provoked his client by hurling vulgarities at him, a claim the teen denied.

Asking the judge to let Lau off with a fine, the lawyer said that the engineer had uncharacteristically overreacted and was remorseful.

Before handing out the sentence, the judge yesterday said that he felt Alex had indeed uttered some words.

But he was not convinced that they were directed at Lau.

The teenager said that he used to go to video game arcades to play the car racing game almost every weekend since turning 14.

He said he would visit such places nearly every day during the school holidays, spending about $10 a visit.

Before the assault, he used to bump into Lau a few times at different arcades islandwide.

Said the student: "I used to see him around a few times here and there, but we never talked to each other.

"The day I got assaulted was the first time I played against him. I seldom go down nowadays because of school commitments."

His father added: "I discourage him from going to game arcades. But I think he is more careful now."

Alex said he was now a bit wary about playing the game against strangers.

He said: "Until now, I find it difficult to forgive Lau as he made me suffer for about a month."

Lau could have been jailed up to two years.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg

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