SINGAPORE, Aug 19 — Angered by a dispute with his employee over owed salary, a construction company boss swung an iron bar at the worker, wounding him on the head.

Today, a district court sentenced Ho Seow Gai, 67, to three weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Mia Rashed, a 39-year-old Bangladeshi.

Mr Rashed was an employee of Ho’s eponymously named Ho Seow Gai Construction at the time of incident.

The case

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) R Arvindren told the court that the altercation between the two men happened on Feb 12 last year.

On Feb 11, Mr Rashed told Ho that he wanted his salary to be paid, and the older man replied he would pay him the following day.

Mr Rashed repeated his request the next day and Ho said he would meet him in person at an industrial site at Sungei Kadut to discuss the matter. It was not stated why he had chosen this location.

When the pair met, they got into an argument. Eventually, Ho seized an iron bar weighing close to half a kilogram and began to attack Mr Rashed with it.

The first blow hit Mr Rashed on the head, while the second struck the younger man’s hand, which he was using to defend himself.

The attack left Mr Rashed bleeding and shouting for help, which attracted the attention of another employee who came to his aid.

Ho then stopped his attack, cleaned the blood off the floor and left the premises before the police could arrive.

Mr Rashed was sent to the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he was found to have a 2cm-long wound on his forehead and a shallow incision on his palm.

The court heard that Ho paid for Mr Rashed’s medical bills, which amounted to more than S$2,000.

DPP Arvindren, who sought a jail term of between three and five weeks, said that while the injuries were “fairly minor”, Ho had targeted a vulnerable part of Mr Rashed’s body.

Moreover, Ho had used an iron bar, which the prosecutor described as dangerous.

“The dispute was over salary and the accused did not need to resort to threats or violence,” he said.

In pleading for a lighter sentence for his client, Mr Anil Singh of Kerta & Sandhu LLC said the incident was “one-off” and “out of character” as Ho had never shown any propensity for violence.

The lawyer added that his client was “the very person that allowed Rashed to change for the better” after the younger man was found to have been in possession of duty unpaid cigarettes.

“(Ho) is sympathetic in nature, he was unable to hold his emotions when unpleasantries were uttered,” said Mr Singh.

Ho was allowed time to get his affairs in order and will begin his sentence on Aug 23. His son and bailor posted a bail amount of S$5,000.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Ho could have been jailed up to three years, or fined up to S$5,000, both. — TODAY