Week's jail for woman who ran e-bike over safety ambassador's foot

In a fit of rage, a woman pushed the front wheel of her power- assisted bicycle over a safe distancing ambassador's foot and slapped his arm when he stopped her from leaving after she breached Covid-19 restrictions.

Pham Thi Mai Thao, 43, was yesterday sentenced to a week in jail after pleading guilty to one count of committing a rash act.

One count of using criminal force was also considered for sentencing of the Singaporean.

The court heard that the incident took place at Geylang Serai Market in August last year, during phase two of Singapore's Covid-19 reopening. The market was barricaded due to entry restrictions to limit the number of people there.

At around 8.40am, the ambassador saw Thao talking to a stall owner through a barricade and told her not to make any transactions as she would be breaching safe distancing measures.

Thao, a food stall assistant at the time, said they were only talking, but she was then seen passing money to the stall owner through the barricade.

When the ambassador stood in front of her e-bike to stop her from leaving, she ran the front wheel over his foot. He tried to move away, but she ran over his foot a second time and then hit his right shin with the bike.

When he held on to the bike, she slapped his arm in anger.

Noticing the ruckus, the assistant director of the National Environment Agency, who was on patrol, called the police.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim called for a week's jail for Thao, saying that a deterrent sentence was needed.

During sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay said he noted that the woman had pushed her bicycle against the ambassador three times, which showed a degree of deliberation and persistence in her offending.

"While the injuries were not significant, it is utterly unacceptable for acts of violence to be visited on safe distancing ambassadors, who are simply doing their job in protecting the public," he said. 

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.