Man who went to mum's defence but ended up starting coffeeshop brawl fined $5,000

Oh Zhi Xiang, 24, was fined $5,000 for his actions, while his cousin, 27-year-old Chua Wei Kiat was fined $4,000. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Believing that his mother was about to be beaten up at a coffeeshop, Oh Zhi Xiang and his cousin went to her aid.

While Oh’s mother was not in any actual danger, the two men ended up triggering a brawl involving at least seven people.

At the State Courts on Thursday (6 Jun), the 24-year-old Oh was fined $5,000 for his actions, while his cousin, 27-year-old Chua Wei Kiat was fined $4,000. Both had pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntarily causing hurt.

Oh’s 58-year-old mother was present in court for the men’s sentencing and indicated that she would settle both their fines.

Broken telephone

On 1 May last year, Oh’s mother was drinking beer at a coffeeshop at Block 27 Bendemeer Road coffeeshop when she asked an acquaintance if a man known as Lim Soon Heng wanted to beat her up. The acquaintance told her this was not true.

However, Oh later received a text message from his sister claiming that Oh’s mother was drunk and that someone wanted to beat her. Oh, who was with Chua and two other men at the time, then headed to the coffeeshop with his group.

When they arrived at the coffeeshop at around 9pm, Oh’s mother identified Lim – who was also at the coffeeshop – as the man who had wanted to beat her up.

Oh’s group then approached Lim, who was with three other men, aged 45 to 65.

The two groups began arguing until Chua and Oh smashed some beer bottles onto a table. The pair threw the broken beer bottles at Lim’s group before attacking them with their fists.

A brawl ensued involving at least seven people from the two groups. At some point during the commotion, a coffeeshop worker called the police.

Misguided desire for revenge: judge

As a result of the fight, two men suffered bruises on their faces and limbs while one victim’s hand was fractured.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan described the offence as a “brazen act” and a “senseless assault” on the victims. She also pointed out that no one had assaulted Oh’s mother.

Lawyer Harbajan Singh Karpal Singh, who represented both Oh and Chua, said that his clients’ offended on account of their youth and inexperience as they heard that Oh’s mother was in trouble.

District Judge Marvin Bay noted that the men’s offence was prompted by a misguided desire to seek revenge.

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

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