SINGAPORE — An associate professor from Nanyang Technological University was on Thursday (23 May) sentenced to one week in jail and fined $2,000 over road rage-related charges along an expressway.
Wang Jianliang, 57, will also be banned from driving for six months from the date of his release from prison.
The Singaporean pleaded guilty to one charge each of mischief and doing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others.
Another count of using criminal force was considered in his sentencing.
Wang is out on bail pending an appeal against his jail term.
Jammed on brakes thrice
On 16 March 2017, Wang and motorist Samuel Lim Yong Soon, 60, were driving on a merging lane to enter the PIE near Pioneer Road North towards Changi Airport.
Traffic was heavy and slow moving at the time, with cars closely packed. Wang tried to filter into the merging lane but Lim refused to give way.
Annoyed, Wang intentionally sped up and drove on the road shoulder to overtake Lim’s car.
When Lim was directly behind him, on the leftmost lane of the PIE, Wang abruptly jammed on the brakes of his car twice.
“He did so intentionally, to convey his displeasure at the victim not giving way to him earlier,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo.
Lim managed to brake in time and moved to the second leftmost lane on the PIE. But Wang followed suit and abruptly jammed on the brakes of his car a third time.
This time, Lim was not able to brake soon enough and the front bumper of his car collided with the rear bumper of Wang’s car.
Hit victim’s car bonnet four times
Both drivers then got out and took photos of the other’s car. Wang also demanded to see Lim’s driving licence but the latter refused, saying Wang could check his vehicle registration number with the Land Transport Authority.
Enraged, Wang shouted at Lim who decided to return to the safety of his car. However, Wang forcefully opened the door of Lim’s car, and grabbed and pulled his arm.
Lim pushed Wang’s hands away causing his mobile phone to drop. Lim then managed to get back into his car and locked the doors. When Wang realised he could’t open the door of Lim’s car, he hit the driver’s side window.
Lim then tried to drive off, but Wang walked to the front of the car and hit the bonnet four times forcefully, causing dents.
Lim managed to reverse and drive off.
The damage to the car bonnet cost $2,171 to fix while the damage to the front bumper and number plate cost $2,162.
Lim made a police report on 24 April 2017.
Video footage of the incident captured on both motorists’ in-car cameras was played in court.
This wasn’t Wang’s first brush with the law. In April 2007, he was convicted of spitting at another person.
According to his academic profile, Wang received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Beijing Institute of Technology in 1982. He got his masters and doctorate degrees in the same field from The Johns Hopkins University in 1985 and 1988, respectively.
He has been with NTU’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering since 1990.
Wang is not the first local academic to make the headlines for traffic related charges.
In November last year, National University of Singapore’s Distinguished Professor Henry Yeung Wai Chung was fined the maximum $5,000 and banned from driving for 13 months for driving his Maserati sports car against the flow of traffic several times.
The maximum penalty for doing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others is up to six months’ jail along with a fine of up to $2,500.
For committing mischief and causing loss or damage amounting to $500 or above, the maximum punishment is up to two years’ jail and a fine.
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