A plainclothes police officer was sitting on a concrete block and observing the crowd for the Ultra Music Festival 2016 in Marina Bay when a man unceremoniously pushed him off the block and took his seat.
The man, Australian Wayne Liang, was drunk from the revelry. A squabble ensued with Liang stamping on the officer’s left foot. The 38-year-old businessman, who owns a factory and a trading company, was later arrested for the act.
He was fined $10,000 on Thursday (4 January) on one count of using criminal force on a public servant while the latter was on duty. Liang, formerly a Chinese citizen until 2013, had originally intended to contest the charge but pleaded guilty on 7 August, ahead of his trial.
According to court documents, the incident occurred on 10 September 2016 as Sergeant Alex Zhang Zhengyang was on duty at Bayfront Avenue. The officer, who was in plainclothes, was tasked to observe human traffic flow for the event at about 9.30pm.
While Sergeant Zhang was seated on a concrete block observing the junction of Bayfront Avenue, he was pushed off by Liang, who took his seat. When Sergeant Zhang asked Liang why he had pushed him, Liang said “what”. Sergeant Zhang repeated the question in Mandarin and Liang replied, “I happy”.
Sergeant Zhang then identified himself as an on-duty police officer and told Liang that he was disrupting his work. He showed Liang his warrant card. In response, Liang glanced at the card and the officer before muttering “so what” and stomping on the officer’s foot.
Before Liang was sentenced, his case went through a two-day Newton hearing in October last year as the prosecution and defence disagreed on the circumstances leading to the offence, specifically whether Liang had behaved aggressively and had defied Sergeant Zhang’s authority.
District Judge Kessler Soh disagreed with the prosecution that Liang had acted in a loutish manner. The DJ agreed with the defence’s position that Liang’s acts were “impulsive”, “out of character” and “caused by intoxication”.
The prosecution asked for a jail term of at least four weeks, and applied for a stay of execution of Liang’s fine after the hearing on Friday. DJ Soh rejected the application.
Lawyer Anand Nalachandran, who represented Liang, sought a $10,000 fine. Citing a Health Sciences Authority report and his client’s statements, the lawyer said that “there should be no dispute that (Liang’s) judgement and memory were impaired at the material time” due to alcohol intoxication.
Liang was found to have a blood alcohol level of 143mg/100ml, which is 1.78 times the prescribed limit for driving, when a blood sample was taken from him after the incident.
For using criminal force on a public servant, Liang, who is married with three children, could have been jailed four years and/or fined.