Man who attacked teen duo at petrol station while drunk jailed 9 weeks

PHOTO: Getty Images
PHOTO: Getty Images

A man who chased two teenagers around a petrol station and attacked one of them while drunk was sentenced to nine weeks’ jail at the State Courts on Tuesday (24 October).

Lau Lee Leng Matthew, 35, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntarily causing hurt to 19-year-old student Benjamin Chua Ding Sheng. Another similar charge was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that at around 1am on 14 January Chua was sitting outside a petrol station along Yio Chu Kang Road with a male friend, Thaddeus Tan, when they saw Lau and two others walk out of the station’s convenience store in an unsteady manner. Lau and his two friends, 42-year-old Yeo Keong Boon and 31-year-old Tan Boon Hua, were intoxicated at the time, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Koh Hui Min.

As the trio walked past the two teenagers, Lau accused Chua of staring at them and shouted at the victim. Lau also threw a metal can of sweets at Chua, which hit the latter in the chest. Shocked by Lau’s actions, Thaddeus Tan tried to drag Chua away from the trio but was unsuccessful. Lau then kicked Chua in the head.

The teenagers managed to get away, but the three men gave chase. At one point, Yeo caught up with them and grabbed them by their shirts, before Tan Boon Hua slapped them. All three also rained punches on both victims. They managed to eventually break free of the assault, with Thaddeus Tan running towards the petrol station to get help.

The trio of attackers also chased the two victims around the petrol station and ignored pleas from from one of the convenience store staff for them to stop. The staff member then called the police. The three men then caught up with Chua and continued punching him.

The attack lasted five to 10 minutes and ended only when Chua apologised to Lau and his friends. The whole incident was captured on CCTV footage taken from the petrol station. Chua was conveyed to the Changi General Hospital, where he was found to have suffered 11 injuries including six abrasions on his shoulders and chests, along with contusions on his face.

DPP Koh pushed for a sentence of nine weeks. She said that the incident was aggravated by the fact that it was a “group assault of three adults on two teens”.

“The two victims were outnumbered and the attack was unprovoked. The accused were relentless in their attacks, which were blatant,” DPP Koh said. “Even when (the) complainant approached them to stop, they ignored it and continued with the attack.”

DPP Koh also said that Lau had a higher culpability, given that he had been the aggressor and had started the whole incident. Lau’s lawyer Wee Hong Shern said that his client had been forthright during the subsequent police investigations and that this was his first brush with the law.

Wee added that Lau was “truly remorseful” over his actions and pleaded for District Judge Soh Tze Bian to show “compassion” as his client has a six-year-old daughter who might be affected if her father went away for an extended period. Both Yeo and Tan were sentenced to eight weeks’ jail each on 22 September. They have appealed against their sentences.

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