[UPDATED on Thursday, 29 May 2014: Adding details about judgment]
The driver of a Honda Civic in Singapore who featured in two viral videos showing aggressive driving behaviour was disqualified from driving for two years and fined S$5,400.
According to media reports, 25-year-old student Quek Zhen Hao told the court he was remorseful and asked the judge to reconsider the disqualification as he had to work for his father in delivery.
District judge Soh Tze Bian reportedly dismissed the plea as he could not see it as a mitigating factor in Quek's defence.
Another charge of rash driving, however, was taken into consideration.
Quek was arrested after featuring in videos tin February showing him in a Honda Civic chasing other vehicles and getting down from his ride to approach a car. Viewers flamed him online, calling him a “road bully” and described his behaviour as “crazy” and “childish”.
Subsequently, Quek came out to apologise for his behaviour in the videos.
In a video titled “SGK5423P – the bullying of a Road Bully” posted on YouTube and based on his car plate number, Quek said he is “truly sorry” for his behaviour, adding that he should have controlled his temper.
However, he questioned the “cyberbullying” to which he and his family have been subject.
Quek said that his parents’ address and photos of his girlfriend have been circulating online, causing much distress to his and his girlfriend’s families.
Some people have even gone to his parents’ place and made death threats to his family, he said.
He urged these people to remove the address and photos from the Internet.
Quek also said that he and his family have been victims of “hurtful”, “cruel” and “evil” remarks, and that he has been labeled as “rude”, “fat” and “ugly”.
Members of the public have even called him Kim Jong-un due to his resemblance to the North Korean leader.
“My mistakes, my punishments, why punish my parents, my family, my ex and my girlfriend?” asked Quek, adding, “The law will catch up with me, but you don’t have to punish my family for what I’ve done.”
He also asked netizens, “Is my mistake bigger than all of you, such that I deserve more punishment than all of you?”
Quek added that his parents have taught him well and that his poor behaviour is not their mistakes, adding that his family and girlfriend have stood by him throughout the ordeal.
On why he didn’t speak up earlier, Quek said that he wanted to protect his family.
“By doing the right thing for my family, I was giving opportunities for people to twist and turn the story,” he noted.
“My decision showed I was wrong to trust and believe I live in a society where people will not judge,” said Quek, adding, “Instead people enjoyed adding salt, water, fire into the situation though many of you were not around to witness it.”
His side of the story
In his eight-minute video, Quek also gave a detailed explanation, with the aid of a hand-drawn map, of what happened in the first incident, which transpired at an open-air carpark in Bukit Panjang.
Quek said that the motorist who filmed the incident pointed the middle finger at him and that he felt “provoked” and “threatened”, which was why he decided to give chase.
Regarding the second incident, which happened near Yew Tee Square, Quek said he was driving at 43km/h as indicated by his speedometer.
He said that he was catching up with a Red Volkswagen driven by a female driver who was traveling at around 25km/h.
As he had noticed that cars were overtaking her on the left, Quek said he tried to indicate to her that maybe she should change lane by tailgating her for a “very short time”.
Quek’s mother speaks up for son
According to The New Paper, Quek’s mother said that their family has suffered because of the media storm and online abuse which also affected their Lunar New Year celebrations.
“He’s a nobody, not someone famous. Why would people do this to him?”, adding that her son “may have done something wrong by driving like that, but he wouldn’t have done that without a reason,” Quek’s mother was quoted as saying by the paper.
She also reportedly said, “But many Singaporean drivers also have a foul temper. So why target just him?”
You can watch the videos of the two incidents and Quek's response here:
‘Road rage’ at Bukit Batok caught on video
Video of dangerous driving in Singapore goes viral
'Carpark' rage in Orchard Road