SINGAPORE — He defended himself against a co-worker who was throwing punches at him, and caused the attacker to fall and sustain a skull fracture.
Lim Kian Seng, 61, was fined $2,500 on Friday (19 July) after he pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt to Ang Peng Hong, 62, through a negligent act.
Ang died almost a month after the incident. His death was not attributed to his fall and assessed to be due to a natural cause.
Lim and Ang were employed as delivery drivers by the same shipping company.
On 22 September last year, both men made arrangements to load imported goods from an Indonesian vessel at 37 Jurong Port Road for delivery.
After loading the goods onto his lorry, Ang proceeded to Customs Clearance and Lim followed behind in his pick-up truck.
When Ang reached the Customs Clearance point, he was told by a Customs officer to head back to Jurong Port for the goods to be scanned for clearance.
Ang drove his lorry out and made a U-turn to a stop at the entrance into Jurong Port. He then waited for Lim.
Lim arrived shortly after and approached Ang to ask why he made a U-turn into Jurong Port. An argument ensued, with Ang raising his fists to challenge Lim to a fight.
Ang threw punches at Lim, prompting Lim to raise his arms to fend off the attack. Lim pushed Ang’s hands away forcefully, causing Ang to fall.
Ang fell backwards and hit his head on the ground, losing consciousness briefly. Two auxiliary police officers who witnessed the altercation intervened and separated the duo.
After Ang regained consciousness, he stood up. He and Lim returned to their respective vehicles.
A while later, Lim instructed an assistant delivery driver, 54-year-old Ong Siak Chuan, to board Ang’s lorry and asked Ang to follow Lim to the inspection zone. Ong boarded Ang’s lorry and noticed that the driver was bleeding from his nose.
Ong alerted Lim about the bleeding. Lim alighted from his pickup and checked on Ang, who said he was still able to drive but was feeling dizzy.
Lim then called his company and made arrangements for a replacement driver to take over Ang’s duties. The two completed the inspection before Lim drove Ang to the emergency department at National University Hospital.
Ang underwent a CT brain scan and was diagnosed with an acute skull fracture with bleeding in the space between the brain and skull. He was admitted into the hospital.
Ang’s condition began to deteriorate despite receiving medical treatment. His family provided care to Ang, but he passed away on 19 October.
An autopsy report attributed the cause of Ang’s death to a natural cause.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Asoka Markandu noted in his sentencing submissions that Ang was the aggressor and that Lim had only pushed him once.
Lim had also shown genuine remorse by attending to Ang and bringing him to the hospital, said the DPP, who asked for the maximum fine of $2,500.
Yeo Ying Hao, Lim’s lawyer, described the incident as “uncharacteristic” of his client, who was a “family man with modest means”.
Lim was just defending himself and possibly underestimated his strength during the incident, according to Yeo.
A veteran of 33 years at his company, Lim was well-liked by his colleagues, Yeo said. His client was likely to lose his job as a result of the court case, he added.
Following the incident, Lim had trouble eating and sleeping and was subsequently diagnosed with depression. Yeo sought a fine of $2,000.
Lim could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $2,500 for negligent act causing hurt.
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