BMW driver in Caltex incident files police report, sells car
He makes police report about abuse and threats from netizens after his petrol top-up dispute goes viral
A BMW driver claims he has received numerous threats from netizens after a Facebook post about his dispute over a petrol top-up went viral.
He had gone to a Caltex petrol kiosk at Tampines Avenue 8 on Saturday to pump $10 worth of petrol for his car but was instead given a full tank, which cost $135.
Facebook user Kelly Yeo, who witnessed the dispute, later posted about it and said the elderly pump attendant had offered to pay the additional $125.
Since then, the driver said, he has been subjected to online abuse and harassment.
Online vigilantes posted his personal details, including his purported name, phone number and occupation, on social media as well as tracked the location of his car.
He has also been branded a "cheapskate", "scumbag" and a "disgrace to humanity" in comments on the Facebook thread.
On Sunday, the driver made a police report, saying that he feared for his family's safety after his personal details were leaked online.
He also disputed the pump attendant's claim that he had said "full tank", maintaining that he had asked for "10 dollars" of petrol.
"The reason I top up only $10 for my petrol is because I am going to trade in my car," he said in the police report.
In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, the driver maintained that he has been accused unfairly.
"I had arranged to meet a car dealer in Jurong that day as I was going to buy a new car... I was worried I wouldn't have enough fuel to last the distance. That's why I decided to pump $10 worth of petrol," he told the Chinese evening newspaper.
He claimed a pump attendant in his 60s asked if he wanted a full tank of petrol, but he declined and said in Mandarin: "95 (referring to the petrol grade), $10."
When he went to pay, he was stunned to learn he had been given a full tank of petrol.
When he asked the cashier if the extra volume could be taken out, the attendant was summoned to explain himself.
"The attendant refused to admit his mistake. Finally, he raised his voice and told the cashier: 'Fine, let him pay $10, I'll pay the rest'."
Claiming that he had not forced the attendant to pay the $125 and upset by his rudeness, the driver said he had contacted Caltex Singapore to ask for an apology.
He said the public backlash has been so intense he has had to switch off his phone and sell his car.
The police told The Straits Times yesterday that they had established that no offence had been committed.
"It was a case of miscommunication between the pump attendant and the vehicle owner on the amount of petrol to be pumped at the petrol kiosk in Tampines," they said.
"We have verified that the vehicle owner was due to trade in his vehicle on the same day, and would not require more than necessary fuel."
The police have advised both parties to resolve the matter amicably.
A spokesman for Chevron Singapore, which markets the Caltex brand, said it would work closely with the authorities, and requested "the community to refrain from any personal or group responses towards those involved".
Caltex Singapore also said in a statement that the pump attendant "did not bear any financial obligation from the events that occurred on April 14".
Mr Lars Voedisch, an international communications strategist and social media expert, told The New Paper that people should not take justice into their own hands.
"What gives one person the right to assume the three roles of prosecutor, judge and police? This is dangerous as we often don't have the full picture," he said.
"Just because somebody shares a story on Facebook doesn't mean it's necessarily true, or it could be one-sided."