Man jailed for attack in case of mistaken identity

It was a case of mistaken identity that ended badly for an unlucky bystander.

Cleaner Abdul Hamid Ahmad happened to be standing on an overhead bridge when a fight broke out and, in the chaos that followed, got beaten up by two separate groups.

The 48-year-old suffered multiple injuries, including cuts and a scratched eye, and spent a day in a hospital's intensive care unit. In one case, the men attacked him because they thought - wrongly - that he had injured their friend, in what District Judge Victor Yeo called a "revenge attack on a defenceless victim".

Yesterday, he sentenced one of the assailants, 22-year-old Nigel Koh Jia Sheng, to two months in prison. Four other men, aged between 20 and 24, have also been charged and their cases are pending.

The court heard that at about 6am on Jan 31, the five, who had been at Club Gossip in St James Power Station, were under an overhead bridge when they heard shouting above. Mr Abdul Hamid, who happened to be there, was not part of the group involved in the shouting.

Koh and two others went up and saw a friend on the ground being attacked by a group of men, who ran into VivoCity mall nearby after being confronted by another unidentified group. The five joined the chase when they realised their friend was injured, and saw Mr Abdul Hamid being attacked by the second group outside a convenience store in the shopping centre.

Believing the cleaner was part of the group who had attacked their friend, the five turned on him, with Koh kicking and punching the victim.

Koh could have been jailed up to two years and fined.

This article was first published on August 14, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.