Man, 30, arrested over attack on Indian woman following mask dispute

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
The Chinese man was arrested for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt, said the police. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
The Chinese man was arrested for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt, said the police. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 30-year-old man has been arrested in relation to a suspected racist attack on a 55-year-old Indian woman near Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

The Chinese man was arrested for public nuisance, uttering words with intent to wound the racial feelings of others and voluntarily causing hurt, said the police in a media release on Tuesday (11 May).

Police said the victim was walking along a walkway at Choa Chu Kang Drive at about 8.45am last Friday morning when she was confronted by a Chinese couple who requested that she wear her mask properly. 

"She purportedly got into a verbal exchange with the man. The man allegedly uttered an offensive racial remark and assaulted her, causing her to fall to the ground," the release said.

The couple then left the scene and the woman received help from a member of the public. Police investigations into the case are ongoing.

Those convicted of causing public nuisance face a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. The offence of uttering words with the intent of wounding another person's racial feelings carries a penalty of up to three years' jail, a fine, or both.

For voluntarily causing hurt, the man faces a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both, if convicted.

Case raised in Parliament

The incident was also raised in Parliament earlier on Tuesday. Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam elaborated that the victim – private tutor Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai – had pulled down a mask while she was brisk walking so as to "prevent breathlessness".

He added that the woman had received a "flying kick" to her chest and that she later made a police report.

"Investigations need to be done before we can come to any conclusions, but such conduct, unfortunately is consistent with some of the other things that have been happening. And the facts are, as stated by the lady, that it appears to be racist conduct," said Shanmugam.

Noting that there are "parties" in Singapore that have been deliberately stoking fears of foreigners as well as "encouraging racism and xenophobia", he called for Members of Parliament to condemn such behaviour.

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