Singapore

Two men lauded for subduing man assaulting bus driver over mask

A man was walking along Pasir Ris Drive 1 on Sept 15 last year when he saw a group of students alighting at a bus stop.

"I found it a bit strange because those students usually do not alight at that particular bus stop," said Mr Muhammad Mu'tasim Kassim.

When the 26-year-old University of Buffalo student checked the bus, he saw a passenger berating the driver before punching him.

The assailant had boarded bus service 21 two stops earlier without wearing a mask.

When the driver, 39, told him to put on his mask, he got angry. After the driver called the police and pulled up at a bus stop to wait for them, the man attacked him.

Mr Clement Tan, 29, a financial consultant, who was at the bus stop, saw the assault and rushed into the bus with Mr Mu'tasim and an unidentified man to pull the assailant out of the bus and subdue him.

For their public spiritedness, Mr Mu'tasim and Mr Tan were commended by the police yesterday. While restraining the attacker, the men discovered he had a knife and quickly removed it, the police said yesterday.

The man was convicted and jailed for 16 weeks on Dec 16 for voluntarily causing hurt and possessing an offensive weapon.

There were about 40 cases of assault on public bus staff last year, with half of them over mask incidents.

Mr Mu'tasim and Mr Tan were among 10 people presented with public spiritedness awards at Bedok Police Division yesterday. The others include Mr Pu Zong Han, who chased and detained a teenage thief at Eunos MRT Station last March, and six Singapore Civil Defence Force officers who helped to arrest a man for molesting a female passenger.

RESPONSIBILITY

The Bedok Police Division Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Julius Lim, said at the commendation ceremony: "The recipients of the Public Spiritedness Award exemplify the sense of community responsibility that is required for all of us during these difficult times.

"From standing up to violent bullies to chasing down sex offenders, these individuals had put their safety on the line to uphold the rule of law."

COURT & CRIME