Man apologises for slapping co-worker in viral video taken by SIM student

A video of a man physically abusing his subordinate has gone viral online, with calls for the authorities to step in being made by many. (Screengrab from video)

[UPDATE on Monday, 20 May at 9.30pm: Added details of supervisor's apology. The original video clip (and its duplicates) has been taken down by YouTube due to violations of its policy on disturbing content. A copy of the clip was also uploaded by The Real Singapore to its Facebook page here.]

The man who was filmed slapping his co-worker in a Singapore office has come out to apologise to the victim's parents. 

However, Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News reported that the parents of the victim -- now identified by Shin Min as a 29-year-old intern -- have rejected the apology.

The supervisor, known as Alan, apologised after the intern's parents showed up at the office, demanding an explanation after their nephew showed them the clip, which was uploaded on Friday evening  and has since gone viral. Alan said he had slapped his colleague in a fit of anger. 

The intern's parents also told the paper that their son seemed to be under a lot of stress, and it was likely brought on by his job at the local company. He no longer works at the company, where he is said to be paid a monthly allowance of between $500 and $600.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also said in a statement on Monday that the victim has filed a police report.

The video has since gone viral since it was uploaded over the weekend.

Filmed by SIM intern

The university undergraduate who uploaded the clip is an intern from Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). In electronic correspondence with Yahoo! Singapore, the 23-year-old first-year student said on Monday that he has sent an e-mail to the Ministry of Manpower, and has also filed a report with the company's human resources department.

He also confirmed that he had just started a three-and-a-half month internship at the company. It is due to end in August, but SIM has said that they have terminated his internship, in light of the incident.

In posts on the Hardware Zone forum thread he started over the weekend, he said that he had also approached his school's internship co-ordinator, but was told to continue working there while she spoke to the company's HR department. She informed him that the company has a long-standing relationship with his school and previous interns had never surfaced any problems.

"(The internship coordinator) was just doing her job, and was trying not to make any rash decisions," he explained. "I wanted to head down to SIM to show her the footage and give her a better understanding of what was happening in that office. But I was really disappointed when she brushed me aside, saying that she will talk to the manager first. I felt that my school didn't take me seriously."

He said he was hesitant to reveal the name of the company he was interning at because there were only four people working there -- a manager, his supervisor (the alleged abuser seen in the video), his co-worker (the victim) and himself.

Video went viral

The 17-second clip he uploaded under the username Shane M on YouTube late on Friday night shows a man standing over a younger man and hitting him repeatedly on the head. This is accompanied by verbal abuse. A third man, wearing a blue T-shirt and jeans, walks up to the first man to try to stop him. Then, the video cuts to a different scene where the first man is seen slapping the 'victim' repeatedly on the face.

In the first entry he posted on the Hardware Zone thread, he said his supervisor (the alleged abuser) was "constantly bullying" his colleague, and the abuse which the latter received was "often physical". He wrote that the victim is shy and so, does not want to take action, and "there doesn't (seem to be) anyone in the workplace that will do anything about this". He added that when he approached his colleague about the treatment the latter received, his colleague said he felt that he himself was in the wrong and that their boss was merely "correcting" him.

"The hitting and yelling stopped when I confronted him but this kind of behaviour has most likely been going on even before I joined, and will again continue after I leave," he wrote, adding that he felt that his supervisor's explanation for the abuse was insincere.

"He brought me into a meeting room and… said that my colleague apparently has an inferiority complex and apparently my supervisor is trying to 'nurture' him to get over it," he shared. "However, my co-worker is very timid and seems like the kind of guy that will not stand up for himself."

In subsequent posts, the undergraduate shared that he witnessed the alleged abuse over his first two days of his internship, and used his phone to record it on his third.

Within the first 24 hours since it was uploaded, the clip garnered more than 80,000 views and was picked up by several local websites before it, and other duplicates uploaded to YouTube, were taken down for violating the video streaming site's policies on violent and disturbing content.

- Additional reporting by Justin Ong

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