Man fined $4,000 for punching cabby after refusing to pay fare

Singapore’s State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

After vomiting in the back seat of the taxi, the man promised to pay the driver for the mess. Instead of keeping to his word, however, he tried to run away while the taxi was being cleaned.

Singapore permanent resident Gareth William David John, 43, did not pay his taxi fare either and even threw a punch at 49-year-old taxi driver Ng Kiam Leong’s chest when the cabby tried to prevent him from leaving.

On Monday (16 April), John, who is from the United Kingdom, was fined $4,000 on one count of voluntarily causing hurt to Ng.

According to court documents, John boarded Ng’s Mercedes taxi at Boat Quay at round 9.30pm on 19 August 2016. John had earlier been out drinking with his friends.

During the ride, John threw up in the back seat of the taxi, prompting Ng to ask if he was all right. John apologised and Ng suggested driving to the nearest petrol kiosk to have the taxi cleaned up.

While Ng did not ask for compensation, he suggested that John pay for the cleaning fees and John agreed.

Ng stopped at a petrol kiosk along Macpherson Road where he was informed of the cleaning price, which John agreed to pay. John then alighted from the taxi and sat by the side of the kiosk while Ng drove the vehicle into the washing bay.

While Ng was in the washing bay, he saw John walking away from the petrol kiosk. He alighted from the taxi and chased after John, who ignored him and crossed Macpherson Road.

When Ng caught up with John, he confronted the latter about the non-payment but John simply asked for the cleaning bill and walked away without waiting for Ng to retrieve it. Ng called the police and prevented John from leaving.

After a short verbal exchange, Ng called the police a second time to tell them that John was trying to escape. This was when John went up to Ng and punched him once in his chest. John then retrieved $100 from his wallet to settle the matter but Ng declined the money.

After the police arrived, John paid the taxi fare of $39.20 and the cleaning fee before he left.

Ng later visited Tan Tock Seng Hospital and was found to have bruises on his chest. He was discharged and given oral painkillers, along with two days’ medical leave.

For voluntarily causing hurt, John could have been jailed up to two years, fined $5,000, or both.

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