He punches bus driver's eye with pliers in hand
A coffee shop owner was sentenced to 33 months' jail yesterday for punching a private bus driver with a pair of pliers in hand - blinding the man in his left eye.
Tan Poh Huat, 61, had pleaded guilty in August to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Mr Chen Ming, 53, a Singapore permanent resident.
On Aug 19, 2014, Mr Chen was on his way to Bukit Merah Secondary School to pick up some students for a sports event, court papers said.
Just opposite the school was Tan, who was fixing a damaged signboard belonging to his nearby coffee shop with a pair of pliers.
Tan told the authorities that Mr Chen's bus almost knocked into him when he drove past, and that he had to jump out of the way.
He then followed Mr Chen's bus into the school compound, while still carrying the pliers.
He went up to Mr Chen's vehicle and knocked on the window twice. Mr Chen alighted as he was afraid Tan would smash his window.
Tan then accused Mr Chen of driving recklessly, but Mr Chen said he denied it in a normal tone.
All of a sudden, Tan punched Mr Chen's left eye with the pliers in hand. He then strode out of the school, went to his car parked at his coffee shop, drove home, took a shower and changed his clothes.
Meanwhile, Mr Chen, bleeding from his left eye, staggered to the school's general office for help.
He was taken to National University Hospital, where he was put through emergency surgery and warded for 16 days.
His left eyeball was found to be ruptured beyond repair and doctors had to remove it during a second round of surgery the next month.
He was fitted with a prosthetic left eye on Oct 30, 2014.
Police identified Tan after reviewing close-circuit television footage in the area and arrested him.
Tan told the authorities that he had attacked Mr Chen because he was angry with his reckless driving.
He had also lodged a report against Mr Chen's reckless driving, but the traffic police found there was insufficient evidence and no legal action was taken.
According to his victim impact statement, Mr Chen lost his 20-year livelihood as a bus driver due to the loss of his left eye.
He and his wife, together with his 13-year-old daughter, have been relying on his savings for the past two years.
Yesterday, defence lawyer Kertar Singh said in mitigation that his client punched the victim just once in a moment of indiscretion.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay said there was a need to deter like-minded individuals from taking matters into their own hands and resorting to violence whenever they had a dispute.