Man assaulted private hire car driver in road rage incident

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
The road along Edgefield Plains. (PHOTO: A screenshot from Google Street View)
The road along Edgefield Plains. (PHOTO: A screenshot from Google Street View)

SINGAPORE — Upset at a private hire car driver who sounded his horn and made a gesture, a man drove quickly to catch up and confront him.

Marco Paulo Goncalves Guimaraes, a 43-year-old Portuguese, was jailed three weeks and fined $1,000 on Thursday (10 June) after he pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt to Desmond Wu Weiming, and one count of not wearing a mask while arguing with Wu.

Guimaraes was also ordered to pay compensation of $122.20 to the private hire car driver by end July.

A Singapore permanent resident, Guimaraes came to Singapore in 2004 and founded Football Management International in 2010. He began a career as a FIFA licensed players’ agent where he scouted for and helped to place promising players into European football clubs, according to his lawyer Marshall Lim from Invictus Law.

Guimaraes was actively scouting for talent in Malaysia and Singapore to bring to Portugal to experience football, but the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to his work, said Lim. He is struggling to manage the business and his club Algarve Clube de Futbol while supporting his wife and his two daughters, Lim said.

On 11 June last year, Guimaraes was on his way to pick up one of his daughters from school when he got into the road rage incident. His wife was beside him in the front passenger seat.

At about 1.10pm, Wu was driving along Punggol Drive, a two-lane road, when Guimaraes overtook him. Guimaraes’ car appeared to brake abruptly.

When Wu passed by Guimaraes’ car, Wu sounded his horn and gestured at him. Guimaraes drove quickly to catch up with Wu and both cars stopped side-by-side at a loading bay at Block 670A Edgefield Plains.

Guimaraes alighted and approached Wu’s car while not wearing a mask. Singapore was in Phase 1 of its reopening then and all were required to wear their masks in public spaces with some exceptions.

The Portuguese then pushed the car door against Wu, causing it to hit Wu’s right shin. He then grabbed Wu’s right wrist and began arguing with him.

After Wu emerged from his car, Guimaraes pushed him while hurling profanities at him. Wu recorded Guimaraes with his mobile phone, and the latter then wore a mask.

Guimaraes then slapped Wu on the side of his head and pushed his right arm. He returned to his car and drove to a parking lot at a nearby loading bay, while Wu called the police.

Wu parked his car behind Guimaraes’ and both alighted, with Guimaraes kicking Wu on his left shin.

Wu sought medical treatment at a hospital and was diagnosed with bruises and swelling over both shins, and over his left ear.

According to Lim, Guimaraes had been driving cautiously due to heavy traffic and had not been able to filter to the left lane as it was full of vehicles. This was when Wu had sounded his horn at Guimaraes. When Guimaraes managed to filter left, Wu “inexplicably sounded his vehicle horn at our client, despite our client having already gotten out of Mr Wu’s way”, said Lim.

“Our client instructs that as Mr Wu drove past, he raised his hand, and our client perceived that Mr Wu had pointed his middle finger at him as he drove past. This was unwarranted conduct from Mr Wu, bearing in mind that our client had given way to Mr Wu, and did not respond to Mr Wu’s sounding of his horn at our client as he cautiously navigated Edgefield Plains.

Asking for two weeks’ jail and a fine of $800, Lim said, “Our client therefore could not fathom what caused Mr. Wu to act in such a rude manner.”

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