SINGAPORE — A construction worker stabbed his dormitory mate with a kitchen knife as he was annoyed with the latter – for talking loudly to his wife over the phone at night.
At the time on 7 May, both male Chinese nationals had been confined to their dormitories as foreign workers were ordered to stop moving in and out of their dormitories from 21 April, including going to work.
For stabbing his compatriot at a makeshift dormitory along Tanah Merah East Coast Road, Zhang Chijun, 49, was handed six months’ jail on Friday (17 July) over one count of causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.
The victim, Chen Huabing, 48, sustained a 4cm wound over his left forearm where muscle was exposed. He was given two months of hospitalisation leave – partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic which delayed his discharge.
On 7 May, the two were lying on their bunk beds opposite each other when Chen called his wife.
As Chen’s wife was upset that her husband chose to remain in Singapore despite the increasing spread of COVID-19, Chen tried to appease her, inadvertently raising his voice.
Zhang was annoyed by the noise as he was trying to sleep. At around 11.30pm, Zhang told Chen to lower his volume. Chen explained then that he was trying to appease his wife but Zhang retorted that he should be considerate towards the rest of the eight workers in the room.
As Chen stood up and walked towards Zhang with the intention of switching on the lights in the room, Zhang stood up, retrieved a kitchen knife from his bedside cabinet and tried to stab Chen. Chen raised his left hand in a bid to defend himself and was stabbed in his left forearm.
At Chen’s shout, a roommate switched on the lights and saw Zhang with the knife in his hand and Chen bleeding. The duo were separated and security alerted.
The prosecution sought at least six months’ jail, describing the attack as “disproportionate and unprovoked”.
“The accused had stabbed the victim in the dark and could have hurt him at a more vulnerable part of his body,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Grace Teo. The assault also took place in a confined space with other people present, noted DPP Teo.
For causing hurt with a weapon, Zhang could have been jailed up to seven years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of the penalties.
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