SINGAPORE — When a man was asked to move away from an area reserved for bus drivers, he hit the face of a cleaner who made the request so hard that the victim's dentures were broken.
Lim Tin Soon, 60, flung his tray of food before attacking the cleaner, who was seen being thrown back by the impact in CCTV footage. The cleaner, 74, also suffered a fractured jaw from the attack.
Lim was jailed for nine weeks on Tuesday (11 January) after he pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt to the cleaner, who was working at the Punggol bus interchange’s NTWU canteen. Another count of using criminal force by flinging his tray of food was considered for his sentencing.
The NTWU canteen was divided into two parts, one of which was reserved for bus drivers and the other was open to the public. The victim was tasked to enforce the arrangements.
On 23 December 2020, Lim was at the canteen having his breakfast. There were at least seven other members of the public then. After buying his food, Lim tried to find a seat but went to the reserved area as he could not find a free seat in the public area.
While Lim was eating, the victim approached him to say that he could not sit in the reserved area as he was not a bus driver. An irate Lim stood up and flung his tray of food away, splattering food on the victim.
He swung his hand into the victim’s face and was thrown back. The victim, who appeared to be a frail man of small stature in CCTV footage played in court, was attended to by bystanders.
Lim then left the canteen and a police report was lodged.
When the police arrived, they found the victim bleeding from the mouth with his dentures broken. The victim was conveyed to Sengkang General Hospital where he was found have a fracture in his upper jaw. He was given seven days of medical leave.
The victim incurred $144.90 in medical expenses, which was fully restituted by Lim. Lim also made a voluntary compensation of $500 to the victim.
During investigations, Lim initially denied punching or assaulting the victim, whom he claimed had been nagging at him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryont Chin sought 10 to 12 weeks’ jail for Lim, who he said had injured a vulnerable victim who was doing his job.
Lim’s lawyer Jasmine Dhanaraj said that Lim’s actions had not been premeditated and that he was remorseful. He was the main breadwinner of his family and jail time would affect his earnings, said the lawyer.
For causing hurt, Lim could have been jailed up to three years, or fined up to $5,000 or both.
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