Prosecution seeks stiffer jail term for 'reckless' cabby

A cabby who was sentenced to three months' jail in March for dangerous driving was back in court on Wednesday (Aug 23), after the prosecution appealed for a stiffer sentence.

Cabby Aw Tai Hock started a high-speed car chase, racing across 11 speed bumps and, at one time, driving against the flow of traffic in pursuit of Mohd Andy Abdullah, who had damaged his cab with weapons.

Aw nearly collided several times with several pedestrians and other vehicles during the five-minute chase.

The bad blood between Aw and Andy began when the cabby picked him up on June 7 last year but Andy refused to pay the fare at the end of the cab ride.

So, Aw, 56, tailed Andy from Pasir Ris the next day, and confronted him at a carpark in Yishun Street 81.

Andy got out of his multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) and, with his friend, struck Aw's taxi with a parang and baton. Aw, who never got out of the taxi, then turned sharply and started driving towards Andy, and later rammed the cab into the side of the MPV repeatedly.

Andy and his friend got into their car and drove off, but Aw was not appeased. He began the car chase, which came to an end only in Yishun Avenue 4, after Andy's vehicle crashed into a stationary car, which flipped over and narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh yesterday asked the court to give Aw at least five months' jail for "one of the worst cases of dangerous driving ever seen".

Said Mr Singh: "It was quite clear that Aw had used the vehicle as a weapon of harm and he was out there to cause damage. His manner of driving posed a particularly high risk, not just to Andy but to multiple road users as well."

Aw, who did not have a lawyer in court, was also disqualified from driving for three years, but the prosecution did not appeal against this.

Footage from Aw's in-car camera, viewed in court yesterday, showed how Aw chased Andy.

Mr Singh said that although Aw did not initiate the attack, it did not make his crime any less serious as he had made a "deliberate and calculated decision" to pursue Andy.

"He took the law into his own hands in a reckless attempt to administer vigilante justice," said the prosecutor.

Aw said it was "puzzling" that his sentence was stiffer than the one Andy got, when the latter was the one who came at him with a weapon.

Andy was given a $2,000 fine and disqualified from driving for four months in July for dangerous driving. He was also convicted of multiple drug offences, resulting in a total of 10 years' jail and 16 strokes of the cane.

Judge of Appeal Steven Chong reserved judgment in the case.

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