SIM student jailed 3 weeks for beating up taxi driver

A Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) student who held down a taxi driver and punched him in the face repeatedly was sentenced to three weeks' jail yesterday.

Tan Jian Liang, 24, boarded a ComfortDelGro cab at Boat Quay at 1.40am on Jan 17 and told driver Seah Teck Kim to take him to Choa Chu Kang Crescent.

Tan then fell asleep. When Mr Seah, 65, arrived at the student's destination, he asked Tan for the block number he should go to, but received no reply.

The cabby got out of the taxi and went to tap Tan on the shoulder in an attempt to wake him. Tan told Mr Seah to drive straight on, then went back to sleep.

When Mr Seah tapped him again to ask for his residential address, Tan turned aggressive and shouted: "You want to fight?"

He then got out of the taxi and chased the cabby before pushing him to the ground and sitting on his stomach.

He started punching the cabby in the face, while Mr Seah tried to block the blows with his hands.

Police officers from Choa Chu Kang Neighbourhood Police Centre, who were on an anti-crime patrol, stopped the assault.

Mr Seah suffered minor injuries and was given three days of medical leave.

One of the officers who stopped the assault said in his report that he had come across a drunkard beating up a taxi driver.

Tan, a final-year business student, pleaded guilty to causing hurt to Mr Seah on a road near Block 667, Choa Chu Kang Crescent.

A second charge of mischief, for throwing a Nets device from the taxi, breaking it and causing damage amounting to $336, was taken into consideration.

Tan has since paid ComfortDelGro for the damage caused. He has also paid $515 to the victim for medical fees and loss of income.

Pleading for leniency, Tan said he truly regretted his actions and has promised his mother that he would not do this again.

He asked for his sentence to be deferred as his examinations were just around the corner.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow told the first-time offender that what he did was both serious and inexcusable.

Tan has been released on $6,000 bail and will start serving his sentence on May 5. He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.

This article was published on April 8 in The Straits Times.

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