Burly attacker sat on my back and strangled me, says cabby
His attacker sat on his back and squeezed his neck while hurling vulgarities at him.
Face down on a road, cabby Chan frantically shouted for help. Luckily, five passers-by heard him and helped push the raging man off the cabby.
Mr Chan Chuan Heng, 46, told The New Paper yesterday: "I could not shout for help properly as he had his hands around my neck for about 20 seconds. It felt like a bear was sitting on me."
The ComfortDelGro cabby said the confrontation, which lasted about three minutes, left him with a fractured left foot. Because of this, he will be unable to drive his taxi for the next month.
The incident happened on Monday at about 1am. Mr Chan had parked his taxi at a lot on North Canal Road, near Boat Quay. He was feeling sick and had needed to use a restroom.
After locking his taxi, a man who looked to be Caucasian and about 1.8m tall approached his vehicle and tried to force open its rear door.
"He started to shout and insisted that I drive him to Upper East Coast Road. I told him to get another cab, but then he stepped forward and slapped me with his hands," Mr Chan told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.
The cabby claimed he did not retaliate and walked away as he smelled alcohol on the man and did not want the incident to escalate. But the man chased him for about 50m. Mr Chan said he ran, but fell and hurt his palms.
He told TNP: "He then sat on my back and choked me, before passers-by came and shoved him off me."
The cabby said the passers-by tried to detain the attacker, but he ran off before the police arrived.
A police spoksman said that they have established that a case of voluntarily causing hurt had occurred at the location and are investigating.
Mr Chan was taken to Singapore General Hospital. He said his medical bill came up to $150.
He added: "I'm on a seven-day MC now. On Oct 1, I'll be going back to remove the cast on my left leg and see how well the healing process is. If it is bad, I will have to go for further operations."
Mr Chan, who is now on crutches, told TNP: "I'm the sole breadwinner, supporting my wife and my mother. We are relying on our savings for our expenses until I can drive again."
The couple do not have children.
Mr Chan hopes that more witnesses will come forward to help establish the identity of his attacker.
UPPER EAST COAST
"As he had asked me to drive him to Upper East Coast, I assume he may be living there. He was wearing a Formula 1 lanyard, so perhaps he was one of the spectators," he said.
So far, one of the pasers-by had provided a photograph of the attacker.
ComfortDelGro spokesman Tammy Tan said in a statement: "We do not take such acts of violence against our cabbies lightly and will be assisting the police in their investigations. Our priority is cabby Chan's well-being and we are already in touch with him to render assistance."
Mr Chan told TNP that he has been working night shifts, which are from 6.30pm to 6.30am, for three years.
Monday's incident was not the first time the cabby has been assaulted.
Two years ago, he got into a scuffle with an intoxicated man who approached him and asked for money.
When Mr Chan refused, the man punched him and the cabby retaliated. Mr Chan lost a tooth in the fight.
"I'm the sole breadwinner, supporting my wife and my mother. We are relying on our savings for our expenses until I can drive again."
- Mr Chan