Two-week detention for youth who punched cabby

A drunk university student punched a taxi driver in the head several times over a $16.97 fare last year. Zeng Zhuangyong, who has since graduated, was yesterday sentenced to a two-week short detention order.

The short detention order is a community sentencing option that is intended to be less disruptive and stigmatising than jail.

On April 28 last year, Zeng, now 25, alighted from Mr Poon Cher Ming's vehicle after vomiting in it and tried to leave without paying. The cabby grabbed hold of Zeng twice to stop him from leaving. Zeng responded with a punch both times.

Mr Poon then grabbed Zeng a third time and both men fell to the ground after a short struggle.

Zeng then straddled the 54-year-old, who was lying on the ground, and punched him repeatedly while swearing at him. The cabby was left bloodied from a deep cut on his forehead.

Zeng, who was then a student at Singapore Management University, pleaded guilty to hurting Mr Poon in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh around 3am.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Puvaneswari Sandirasekaran said Zeng had been intoxicated at the time, and had assaulted a public transport worker in the wee hours of the morning.

Zeng's lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, said his client was 23 at the time and comes from a good family.

Pointing out that Zeng had paid $5,000 in compensation to Mr Poon to show his remorse, Mr Sudheesan said that what had happened was a one-off incident that represented a "total departure" from Zeng's character.

Mr Sudheesan added that Zeng had graduated recently from SMU and wants to pursue a career in the finance sector.

Zeng could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily hurting the cabby.

This article was first published on October 21, 2014.
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