Man jailed for punching cabby over luggage
Passenger jailed one week for punching cabby
He was punched in the head because he did not help his passenger unload luggage from the boot of his taxi.
But cabby Chia Kok Keong, 56, harbours no hard feelings. He told The New Paper that he has forgiven his 29-year-old assailant.
Mr Chia, who has been a cabby for over 10 years, even wrote a letter to the court pleading for leniency for his passenger Tan Kok Chuan.
"I was very shocked and angry then, but I've now forgiven him," said Mr Chia in Mandarin.
"It's a small matter, really. Plus he's a young man. I hope we all can move on after this."
Tan, a modem tester with Aztech Technologies, was yesterday jailed a week for one count of voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Chia.
Court papers said Tan and his girlfriend got into Mr Chia's taxi at Changi Airport at about 10.30pm on Oct 13.
Mr Chia helped to load the three pieces of luggage belonging to Tan and his girlfriend into the boot of his taxi.He then drove to Tan's home at Jalan Tenaga in Bedok.
At the carpark, Tan asked Mr Chia to help unload his three pieces of luggage .
But Mr Chia refused, and the two men started quarrelling. Tan then punched the left side of Mr Chia's head, causing the cabby to fall.
The cabby called the police and was taken to Changi General Hospital, where he was treated for contusions on his right temple and right elbow. He was given outpatient treatment with three days of medical leave.
At least two taxi companies here have a code of conduct that call for their cabbies to help their passengers.
Comfort and CityCab, as well as Premier Taxis, stated on their websites that their cabbies should help passengers with bulky items.
Yesterday, Mr Chia, who drives a yellow CityCab, told TNP that he declined to help with the luggage as Tan had already unloaded two of three bags by the time he was done collecting the fare from Tan's girlfriend.
"My wrist was also hurting then, and he was a young man who looked fit enough to handle one more bag on his own," he said.
In mitigation, Tan's lawyer, Mr Lai Mun Onn, said Mr Chia had asked for a $1 tip in return for his help, although the cabby later changed his mind and refused the tip.
Tan then sat at the back of the taxi in an attempt to persuade Mr Chia to help.
When Tan eventually got out of the cab, Mr Chia suddenly reversed his vehicle with the door still open, knocking into Tan, Mr Lai said.
But Mr Chia told TNP that at no point did he ask for tips, claiming that it was Tan's girlfriend who offered him a dollar for his help.
He added that he did not take the money. He also denied reversing the vehicle into Tan, claiming that his vehicle merely jerked slightly as he had not pulled the handbrake properly.
After Tan punched him, Mr Chia said he notified the police by pretending to be calling a friend.
"This was the first time a passenger had become aggressive and violent towards me. I was in shock then," he said.
He also said Tan has since compensated him with $700 and six bottles of Brand's Essence of Chicken.
"After I cooled down, I decided to write to the court to ask for a second chance for him. I didn't suffer any serious injuries anyway," he said.
In his letter addressed to the judge, Mr Chia said: "I truly hope that everyone can give this young man a second chance, and I do not hope this matter will impact his bright future."
TNP spoke to Tan's father, who does not know of his son's offence.
He said: "He told me he was going on vacation with his girlfriend. He didn't tell me when he would return, but I know he is coming back soon."
Tan could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.