Man stands up for bullied hostess, but gets slashed

SINGAPORE - The man held the hostess by her hair, arm-locked her and dragged her around, scolding.

Mr Koh Ee Hock, 45, was stunned at the sight in a Geylang pub, slightly after midnight on Jan 7.

Thinking to save the girl, he called out: "You're here to spend money, why must you do things that make yourself unhappy? Other people also have fathers and mothers. They are not dogs. Why do you treat her like that?"

The man, whom Mr Koh identified as Yap Kian Yong, 35, then let go of the girl, who ran off. Yap and two other men left the scene as well.

But it was not the end of the story, as the men returned to attack Mr Koh, one of them taking a chopper to his head. The men - Yap, Henry Ong Hock Heng, 35, and Lombard Leon, 33 - were jailed between eight and 14 months on Wednesday. Holding the woman in an armlock, the man grabbed her hair, dragged her around and scolded her.

Stunned by what he was seeing in the Geylang pub, another patron, Mr Koh Ee Hock, 45, decided to intervene.

He shouted at the man not to treat the woman like a dog.

For standing up to the bully, Mr Koh was later injured by the man and two of his friends in an attack involving a kitchen knife and chopper.

On Wednesday, his three assailants - Yap Kian Yong, 35, Henry Ong Hock Heng, 35, and Lombard Leon, 33 - were jailed for the attack. (See report right, below.)

Angry by his intervention, the man left and returned with two other men. They were s returned with cleavers, confronted him and slashed him on the head. chased him down the street rw: that didn't happen

Mr Koh, who owns a building services company, told The New Paper on Thursday that he was in the After Dark Entertainment pub on the second storey of a Geylang shophouse with two friends just after midnight on Jan 7.

He had just returned from a work trip to Malaysia and was still wearing his uniform with a jacket. They had been drinking in their private room for about half an hour when they heard shouts from outside.

When they went out to see what was going on, Mr Koh said he saw that Yap had a hostess in an armlock and was dragging her around by her hair.

Incensed by this, he yelled at Yap: "You're here to spend money, why must you do things that make yourself unhappy?

"Other people also have fathers and mothers. They are not dogs. Why do you treat her like that?"

Mr Koh said a crowd had gathered in the pub corridor to watch Yap manhandle the woman, who was in a T-shirt and jeans and looked to be in her 20s.

The woman is believed to be a foreigner.

"Everybody wanted to see what the excitement was about, but no one opened their mouths to say anything," said Mr Koh, who added that he spoke up because he felt a person should not have been bullied like that.

"Other people may be from poorer countries, and may appear lesser in the eyes of some Singaporeans. But as my mother has said, other people have also been nurtured from young and are precious.

"(Hostesses) are here to pour drinks. If you like it, you praise them. If you don't, just leave. They haven't done anything against you."

He said that after his intervention, Yap let go of the woman, who ran off. Yap and the other two men then left.

Mr Koh said it occurred to him that the trio would return - either with more men or weapons.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, a pub employee who was keeping an eye on the closed-circuit television footage shouted: "They're coming back."

Mr Koh said the people around him dispersed, but he remained in the corridor.

"I hadn't done anything wrong, so I thought I didn't need to be worried."

He said that Yap was the first to appear at the stairwell, looking left and right before running towards him while appearing to be holding something behind his back.

"I didn't have time to react. I didn't have time to think, does he have a weapon, where is he hiding it? When he almost reached me, his hand suddenly relaxed and a kitchen knife flipped forward. He held it taut."

Mr Koh said he retreated as Yap advanced. His only thought was that he had to take the knife away from Yap.

As they grappled with each other, Ong and Leon appeared.

Mr Koh said one of them ran past him and the other came towards him with a chopper, going straight for his head.

Head hit with chopper

Mr Koh fell to the floor after being hit on the head with the blunt edge of the chopper.

"He kept striking my head, about eight or nine times. I had a strange feeling.

"I didn't care about the chopper. I cared about the kitchen knife because it was long and sharp, and could be plunged right into me."

The men fled after the blows, he said.

Mr Koh then went to the toilet to wash up and stop the bleeding, staunching it with his jacket.

"My hair felt wet. I rubbed my head with my hand and it was all red."

An ambulance arrived soon after and Mr Koh was taken to hospital, where he received about 15 stitches near the back of his head.

"I asked him, 'It wasn't your business, why did you get involved?' He said, 'If I didn't help you, how would you have been able to hold them off?'"

Despite being injured, Mr Koh said he never regretted speaking up for the woman - a stranger whom he has not met since the incident - as he felt he had done the right thing.

As to whether he was disappointed that no one came to his aid, he said: "In such a situation, not everyone would have the courage to stand up."

"You're here to spend money, why must you do things that make yourself unhappy? Other people also have fathers and mothers. They are not dogs. Why do you treat her like that?"- Mr Koh Ee Hock on what he yelled at Yap Kian Yong, who had grabbed a pub hostess by her hair and was dragging her around after holding her in an armlock.

Jail for three men in pub attack

On Wednesday, Yap Kian Yong was jailed 14 months for causing hurt with a dangerous weapon and unrelated charges of criminal misappropriation.

Henry Ong Hock Heng, 35, was jailed eight months for causing hurt with a dangerous weapon and possession of a chopper.

Lombard Leon, 33, got 10 months on similar charges as well as for selling codeine without a licence, which was discovered when the police went to pick him up for the pub assault.

Leon admitted he had been selling the mixture at $15 a bottle to addicts in Geylang.

It had been smuggled from Malaysia in white canisters disguised as porcelain cleaner.

At the time of the attack, Yap, 35, a supervisor at a cleaning company, was under investigation for embezzlement.

In March last year, the company's client, Hotel 81, had mistakenly sent a cheque for $86,672, instead of $866.72. Instead of reporting the mistake, he made regular withdrawals of the money.

Yap was also fined $2,000 and disqualified from driving for a year after he was caught drink driving on June 17.

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