Man who threw chopsticks in brawl at bak kut teh restaurant fined $4,000

Wan Ting Koh
Tay Soo Yong, 51, was one of two men charged for a brawl at a popular bak kut teh restaurant. PHOTO: Koh Wan Ting/Yahoo News Singapore

One of the two men who took part in a ruckus at a bak kut teh restaurant that was caught in a viral video has been fined $4,000.

Tay Soo Yong, 51, was at Kian Lian 365 along Balestiar Road  in the early hours of 19 August last year with his friend, Toh Kian Teck, 63, when they behaved in a rowdy manner, causing alarm to the staff of the restaurant.

Tay pleaded guilty on Tuesday (23 January) in the State Courts to one count of using threatening behaviour towards restaurant waitress Cheng Weihui, 27, by throwing a bunch of chopsticks at her twice in an incident that occurred around 2.37am.

Toh, who faces one count of committing mischief in addition to one count of using threatening behavior, has not been dealt with by the Court.

The Court heard that Tay, Toh and two other male friends arrived at the restaurant to have supper after drinking at Toa Payoh. The four men, who were observed to be intoxicated, took a seat and were handed the menu by Cheng.

Toh then yelled in Hokkien that he wanted to order, but Cheng did not understand Hokkien, leading Toh to believe that he was being ignored. Agitated, Toh threw a chopstick from a holder on his table at Cheng.

Tay, who was similarly antagonised, then stood up and flung a bunch of chopsticks in Cheng’s direction twice. After Toh threw the cutlery holder in Cheng’s direction, both Tay and Toh yelled, “Do business don’t be so arrogant.”

Toh then went around the restaurant hurling things. He tipped an industrial bun steamer containing buns, causing it to smash into pieces.

Fearing for Cheng’s safety, a dish washer working at the shop prevented Toh from moving towards Cheng. Tay also tried to restrain Toh.

The two left the restaurant with their friends – who did not participate in the commotion – after Toh toppled some more furniture onto the ground. The total damage caused to the restaurant exceeded $2,000.

The duo’s actions were captured by CCTV cameras in the restaurant and the footage was shared widely online.

Appearing in court on Tuesday in a white polo tee shirt, Tay pleaded for leniency as he was the sole breadwinner of his family, which included a seven-year-old daughter.

The prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay, asked for the maximum fine of $5,000, saying that Tay had acted in a “brutish manner” and terrorised a woman who was just trying to do her job.

However, the prosecution highlighted that Tay had tried to pull his friend away.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt also noted the act when he passed the sentence on Tay, saying he gave Tay “more credit” than what the prosecution was asking for as Toh could have caused more damage had he not been restrained.

If convicted for causing alarm, Tay could have been jailed up to six years in addition to a maximum fine of $5,000.