[UPDATE on 29 December, 3:52pm: Adding information about new video of incident and models' reactions]
A video of the Circular Road scuffle that occurred between three Singaporean models and an unidentified man surfaced online recently, sparking accusations of the girls misrepresenting what had happened.
Watch it here:
In the minute-long video, two of the three girls (Ziyi Kuek, Esther Lee and Anna Huang) were seen embroiled in a scuffle with a man. Lee (in a white dress) was seen being pushed to the ground while Huang, dressed in a green tube and a navy miniskirt, went for the man, landing a couple of punches at his head, while yelling at him for attacking Lee.
A contributor to citizen website STOMP claimed that it was the three girls whose car hit the man first, resulting in him retaliating and kicking the car.
He then said that police detained him for a period as well, on complaints that he had assaulted the girls. He also claimed the girls were lying in their account of the incident, adding that "they themselves were under the influence of alcohol too".
Yahoo Singapore understands that his claims of the man being detained are untrue, however.
When asked about the video, Kuek told Yahoo Singapore it did happen, but the clip did not show the beginning and subsequent parts of the scuffle -- where the man kicked their car and opened the front door. It also did not show what happened later on when the fight moved outward onto South Bridge Road, she added.
Explaining why Huang and Lee were seen attacking the man, Kuek said they were reacting to him punching her first.
"They were pissed at him (for) punching me," she said. "We've already predicted that (this would happen -- the criticism and accusations by users online), but it doesn't matter. They can blow it (up) big," she said. "STOMP never even interviewed us."
Meanwhile, Kuek said all three of them have filed police reports and have approached the magistrate's court for assistance with the case. They have not yet engaged legal assistance.
Earlier on 12 December, the girls said they were in a car headed for supper at a coffee shop on Circular Road at about 3am after a night of clubbing.
They were about 100m from their destination, BK Eating House, when a man who appeared to be drunk blocked their path.
"I horned him, but he got really agitated by the sound of the horn, and started knocking on the window and kicking at the side of the car," said Kuek, 23, who was driving Huang's car as she was the only one who did not drink that night.
Deciding to pay no mind to his rash behaviour, Kuek continued driving forward, but he followed their car and persistently kicked it until its front bumper dislodged.
"He then opened the door (on the front passenger's side), and started acting very aggressively toward her (Huang), but before he could do anything I got out on my side, so he came to me... and because of that we got into a fight," she told Yahoo Singapore about a day later.
Watch the girls recount what happened in an interview with us here:
Kuek said he was yelling at them, asking them, "So what do you want?" and pointing his middle finger at them.
"When I got out (of the car), he was this close to me even though I hadn't said anything, and was behaving very aggressively toward me so I pushed him and he started punching my face," she said, pointing to an angry bruise on the left side of her chin, as well as her right cheek -- the two places where he hit her.
Shortly after the man hit her, he was pulled back by two of his 10 friends who were looking on, said Kuek.
"One of them asked us to let it go because he was drunk," she continued, saying that she was initially agreeable to doing so on the condition that he apologise to her for damaging her car and for punching her.
He refused, however, and got even more agitated, accusing her of drunk-driving. Kuek then said she wanted to call the police but he started heading toward the main road in a bid to escape, so she followed him and tried to record a video of him for identification.
"Once he found out I was shooting a video of him, he started attacking me again, and he just grabbed me and tossed me to the middle of the road... the cars were still driving by," she said.
Huang, 21, and Lee, 19, then rushed forward to fend him off and prevent him from hitting Kuek again, but according to them, he turned on them and flung them in the direction of the pavement one by one.
"I was thrown onto the ground, and after that she (Huang) was flung to the side too, and she hit her head on the kerb," said Lee.
By this point, Kuek said she was "really furious", and she and Lee grabbed their attacker -- and that was when police officers on patrol arrived to the scene.
"If the police did not stop the fight when they did, he probably would have been more violent," said Kuek.
Asked if no one responded to the incident or moved forward to help them as the man was hitting Kuek, Huang said everyone at the coffee shop and pubs on the other side of the road were watching the action unfold, but none came forward to help them.
"Some of them were video-ing, some of them went into 7-11 to buy water for us, but they were all just watching," she said. "His friends, all 10 of them, they were just watching too. One of them shouted "Stop!" but that was about it."
Kuek then spoke to the police officers and gave her statement after they took down her assaulter's information and let him go.
She subsequently sought treatment at Singapore General Hospital for her injuries. She was unable to move her right shoulder upward, or bite properly, owing to a swollen jaw. She also showed bruises on her left chin, right hip, palms and left elbow -- which she said she could not straighten fully -- and cuts on her toes.
She noted that Huang and Lee had not been asked for statements, however, adding that the earliest they can file their individual police reports was Saturday, because their investigating officer was off-duty on Friday.
Huang and Lee had their surface injuries covered by paramedics after police helped them to call an ambulance to the scene. Huang vomited twice at the scene, however, and on her third, she vomited blood just before reaching home, so she checked herself into Tan Tock Seng Hospital for a night's observation on Thursday evening.
Lee sustained multiple bruises on her legs, hips and the back of her head, while Huang showed abrasions on her knees, a large open hip wound that was covered with a plaster, as well as another on her forearm, more bruises on her elbows, head and palms.
"I was trying to break my fall but I couldn't, he was too strong," said Huang, explaining the cuts on her palms.
She was still trying to decide if she should report for work on Friday evening at Zoukout -- she was assigned to be a roving model at a booth.
All three said they plan to press charges against their attacker, as well as to seek compensation for Huang's dislodged car bumper.
"Everything's hurting now," said Lee, a fine arts student who models on the side. "I think the patrolling there is too little... he got away with it, after hitting three girls."
"You can basically hit anybody, say you're drunk and get away with it," added Kuek. "He got away without even a scratch, and we got flung in the middle of South Bridge Road, with cars driving past."
Kuek was a finalist in the Miss Singapore World pageant in 2011 and an FHM model in 2010, while Huang and Lee were finalists in the model search competition this year. Kuek is also a high-profile competitive in-line skater, who has won numerous nation-wide level races before.
When asked about the incident, police said they responded to a call at about 3:24am, establishing that "a case of dispute" had occurred there.
"Police advised involved parties to settle the dispute amicably," added a spokesperson, who said investigations are ongoing.
Such physical altercations are often classified as cases of voluntarily causing hurt, a non-arrestable offence, meaning that police cannot arrest a suspect without a warrant.