Private-hire car driver in Singapore jailed eight weeks for assaulting, threatening lorry driver

Chua Chee Beng pleaded guilty to causing hurt to a 40-year-old lorry driver, with another two charges of causing alarm and giving false information to a public servant taken into consideration during sentencing. — Reuters pic
Chua Chee Beng pleaded guilty to causing hurt to a 40-year-old lorry driver, with another two charges of causing alarm and giving false information to a public servant taken into consideration during sentencing. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, June 10 — While arguing with a lorry driver on November 28 last year, Chua Chee Beng began hitting himself in the face and abdomen, telling the other man that he would lie to the police that he had assaulted him.

Not only did the other man not lay a finger on him, but Chua later hit the man's head and neck repeatedly after the victim tried to take a picture of him.

As Chua was assaulting his victim, he threatened: “How dare you take a picture of me? I am not scared of the police; the most I go inside and sleep.”

Chua also said that he would “find” the victim after being released from prison. Both men then called the police.

Yesterday, Chua, 48, was sentenced to eight weeks’ jail. He also has to pay his victim S$668.25 in compensation for medical fees and loss in income.

Chua pleaded guilty to causing hurt to the 40-year-old lorry driver, with another two charges of causing alarm and giving false information to a public servant taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that at about 4.20pm on the day of the incident, both men were driving along the Central Expressway (CTE) towards Tuas, and Chua cut into the other man’s lane from the left.

The lorry driver slowed down and sounded his horn at Chua. He then drove up next to Chua’s car and gestured at him, implying that Chua had almost collided into his lorry.

After Chua drove to the road shoulder and parked there, he disconnected his in-vehicle camera and alighted. The victim also parked his lorry and got down from it.

The pair then began arguing.

During the dispute, the victim told Chua that he would call the police. Chua then began hitting himself before walking back to his car.

Both men called the police separately, with each claiming to have been injured by the other.

As Chua went back to his car, the victim thought that Chua was going to tamper with his in-car camera — not knowing that he had already done so.

When the victim took a photograph of Chua, Chua confronted him again and threatened him.

Chua also took a photograph of the victim, and began punching and kicking his head and neck while shouting more insults in Hokkien.

The victim did not retaliate even though Chua dared him to do so, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Mark Yeo told the court.

The assault stopped only when police officers arrived at about 4.40pm and arrested Chua.

The victim went for medical treatment at the National University Hospital, where he was given six days of medical leave.

He had to return to the hospital soon after because his knee pain worsened and he was diagnosed with a likely knee sprain.

DPP Yeo revealed that in 1991, Chua was sentenced to probation for aggravated robbery. That was when he was 20 years old.

When he committed the same offence in 2007, he was jailed for three years and given 12 strokes of the cane.

The prosecutor sought at least 10 weeks’ jail and the compensation order, saying that the victim — who also works as a private-hire driver in the evenings — had to continue paying rental fees for his lorry and car when he could not work.

Chua gave his own mitigation plea, apologising for his actions and telling the court through an interpreter that he had been impulsive.

District Judge Kan Shuk Weng allowed him to begin serving his sentence on Friday, after he said that his mother had suffered a stroke following his court case. — TODAY

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