SINGAPORE, Dec 3 — Angered that a coffee shop in Punggol would not accept his five-cent coins as payment for his drink, a 69-year-old man spat at the two stall attendants who served him.
For that, Roman Tan was fined S$1,000 today after he pleaded guilty to using criminal force.
The incident happened on the afternoon of Feb 10 when Tan visited a coffee shop along Punggol Drive.
At that time, he was not wearing a face mask and was reminded to do so by a stall attendant at the coffee shop.
He left and returned with a mask on and ordered a drink.
To pay for it, he tried using eight five-cent coins, among other coins of varying denominations, but the stall attendants did not accept them.
Before he spat on the two employees, they told him that it was the coffee shop’s policy that did not allow them to accept more than five five-cent coins as payment.
Customers are allowed to use up to 20 coins per denomination for each transaction.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said that the limit was to minimise inconvenience to vendors and their waiting customers, should a customer wish to use a large number of coins for payment.
The Currency Act, however, also allows vendors to set a lower limit or choose not to accept any denomination of currency coins or notes, provided that the vendor gives written notice to customers before a transaction.
“This is because the payment for goods and services is essentially a contractual agreement between a willing buyer and willing seller. Neither party can be forced to enter into the transaction; both must do so willingly,” said the central bank.
Court documents did not state if the coffee shop had a written notice about its policy.
In any case, by spitting on the stall attendants, Tan used criminal force, which carries a jail term of up to three months or a fine of up to S$1,500, or both.
Tan is the second elderly man to be convicted of spitting on someone in two days.
On Thursday, Kang Poh Kim, 70, was jailed two weeks after he pleaded guilty to spitting at his former work supervisor following an argument with her over a work-related matter. — TODAY