Man jailed for 'brutish' attack on taxi driver

THE former director of programme management at a courier company was jailed for 10 weeks yesterday for a "sustained and brutish" attack on a taxi driver.

Norwegian national Arne Corneliussen, 50, pleaded guilty to choking Mr Chan Chuan Heng from behind, at the intersection of Circular Road and North Canal Road on Sept 22 last year.

The court heard that Corneliussen, a Singapore permanent resident, had just finished a night of drinking at Clarke Quay when he spotted the 46-year-old's taxi at about 1am.

Just as he was about to board, Mr Chan said he needed to go to the toilet and would not be able to take any passengers.

Corneliussen responded by slapping Mr Chan, who was incensed and asked why he hit him.

Corneliussen reacted by lunging forward and chasing the victim, then stopped and returned to the taxi to try to open the rear passenger door.

Mr Chan walked back towards the taxi but Corneliussen chased him again. When the cabby fell, Corneliussen pinned him down and began strangling him for about 15 seconds, leaving him out of breath. Two good Samaritans eventually pulled the men apart.

A fellow cabby called the police after witnessing the incident.

The victim suffered a cut to his right arm and foot injuries.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong said Mr Chan was a public transport worker who had the right to work in a safe environment. He added that Corneliussen, who had consumed seven pints of beer that evening, was intoxicated when he carried out the "sustained and brutish attack".

Corneliussen, represented by Ms Christine Ong, expressed his sincere regret and remorse for his actions and for the pain and hurt to the victim and his family.

He has paid the victim $30,000 as compensation.

He said he had been out of work since losing his job last December as a result of the incident, and that his friends and family could not believe he had done something that was "totally out of my character".

District Judge Lim Tse Haw told him: "There is no place in our society for such thuggish behaviour."

Corneliussen could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing hurt.

This article was first published on Apr 2, 2015.
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