Man who punched town council worker for taking photo of sign jailed and fined

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

He punched a town council worker who was taking a photo of a sign, as he suspected that he was captured in the photo.

Saravanan Arulanandan Pillay, 36, had consumed two cans of beer prior to the incident, and when he was being arrested, he spewed profanities and racial slurs at a police officer.

In the State Courts on Friday (8 June), Saravanan was jailed for five weeks and fined $1,000 after he pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to 26-year-old Zhang Xing, one of using insulting words on a police officer and one count of behaving in a disorderly manner by shouting and gesticulating.

On the morning of 3 January this year, Zhang, who was working for a company attached to the town council, was responding to a case of water leakage. He spotted a “no smoking” sign at a block in Jalan Kayu. He took a photo of the sign, which was part of his job scope, from across the road at a nearby block.

At the point, Saravanan, who has been drinking for some time, and a member of the public were seated at a table under the sign. Saravanan spotted Zhang taking the photo and shouted at him. After he asked Zhang questions about the photo-taking, Zhang produced his Town Council pass.

Although Saravanan was not in the photo, Zhang was willing to delete it. Saravanan, however, suddenly punched Zhang’s left eye, causing his spectacles to fall off. He also punched Zhang on the shoulder and a while later, on the face three more times.

Station Inspector (SI) Nazrin Suhaimi and other officers arrived at the scene after Zhang called for the police. Saravanan repeatedly shouted at Zhang, despite being warned by SI Nazrin not to do so. He then yelled expletives at Zhang, and gesticulated and pointed at the officers.

After ignoring warnings from the police several times, Saravanan was arrested. As he was being escorted to a police vehicle, he hurled insulting words in Tamil and Malay at SI Nazrin.

Zhang received treatment at a hospital and was given five days’ medical leave.

The prosecution asked for a five weeks’ jail and a fine, saying that the attack was unprovoked. It added that in Saravanan was convicted of similar offences not long ago. In September 2017, Saravanan was convicted of voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation and a breach under the Protection from Harassment Act. He was jailed for the offences.

In mitigation, Saravanan, who was unrepresented, said that he realised his mistake and was prepared to serve his sentence.

He told District Judge Mathew Joseph that he got angry when Zhang took a photo of him, but the judge replied that it was Zhang’s job.

“For you to fly into a rage like that and shout at him is totally unacceptable,” he said.