Man rains punches on bus captain's head after he was told to put on a mask

PHOTO: Facebook/SBS Transit

A reminder to put on a face mask angered a passenger so much, he rained punches on the bus captain.

Without wearing a mask, the man boarded bus service 21 at a bus stop along Pasir Ris Drive 6 yesterday (Sept 15) afternoon.

He only put it on after getting on the bus and started to hurl vulgarities at the bus captain, SBS Transit said in a Facebook post. The verbal abuse continued as the vehicle travelled for two more bus stops.

After alerting the police to the incident, the bus stalled at a bus stop along Pasir Ris Drive 1 to wait for officers to arrive. This was when the passenger grabbed the bus driver's neck and collar, holding on for more than a minute.

He refused to let go despite the latter's pleas.

Another one of our Bus Captains was assaulted on board our bus yesterday - and this time it lasted a good 12 minutes....

Posted by SBS Transit Ltd on Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Then, the passenger started to rain punches on the bus captain's head as the latter cowered with his arms to shield his face.

Noticing the assault, three young men who were at the bus stop rushed up the bus and tackled the assailant.

They dragged him out to the bus stop and pinned him to the ground before the police arrived at the scene.

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The bus captain was given three days of medical leave after getting medical treatment at a hospital.

While he was not seriously injured, the assault that lasted for 12 minutes left him shaken, SBS Transit said.

This is the latest incident in a recent spate of incidents involving passengers becoming aggressive after they were asked to comply with Covid-19 regulations by putting on a mask on public transport.

Noting that several of its bus drivers have been abused over this issue in the past few months, the public transport operator stressed: "This is repugnant. And this must stop."

In response to AsiaOne's queries, the police said a 39-year-old male bus driver was conscious when taken to Changi General Hospital.

The police arrested the 52-year-old passenger for possession of an offensive weapon and voluntarily causing hurt.

Investigations are ongoing.

ALSO READ: Man who used neck warmer as face mask challenges bus driver for stopping him

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lamminlee@asiaone.com