SINGAPORE — A woman who caused a scuffle at Huawei’s Jurong East Mall (JEM) outlet during its overly subscribed National Day promotion last year was jailed two weeks and fined $1,000 on Thursday (22 October).
Ng Puay Chin, 54, was one of several hundreds of people who had queued up for the phone retailer’s promotion, which offered its Y6 Pro smartphone for sale at $54 from 26 to 28 July last year. The original price of the device was $198.
The promotion was open only to those aged 50 and above, and each individual could only obtain a maximum of two sets.
On 26 July, when Ng joined the queue, there were already 300 people outside the store by 10am. The store operations manager, Kenny Lum Zhong Ting, only had 46 tickets to give away.
Angered that she was unable to secure a ticket, Ng called Lum a “liar” and “scammer”.
Ng pleaded guilty to one count of using insulting words on Lum, and one count of shoving a police officer’s arm away and hitting his hand while he was arresting her.
Three charges were taken into consideration for her sentencing: behaving in a disorderly manner by gesticulating with her hands and shouting loudly in the store, committing trespass by entering the store and unlawfully remaining there, and pointing at Lum and shouting at him to “watch out” and “be careful”.
At one point, the crowd became impatient and rushed to the front. Lum then announced that only those with tickets could buy the device and told the crowd to disperse. Many of those who remained outside became agitated.
Amongst them was Ng, who was furious that she could not purchase a smartphone as advertised. She approached the victim, pointed her finger at him and hurled insults and threats at him in a loud voice
When the store opened for business at 11am, the crowd rushed in, including Ng. This was when Ng began verbally abusing Lum. She demanded to be issued a phone and rallied those around her to be hostile to Lum.
Despite Lum’s requests for her to leave, Ng remained at the store. Police officers were then called for crowd control and to tend to the dispute. Still, Ng lingered at the store even as its shutters were closed.
When warned that she could be arrested, Ng retorted at the top of her voice, “it’s ok, everyone is watching” and “I’m above fifty; no rotan; I’m a woman”.
When the police told Ng that she would be arrested, Ng hid under a product display table in the middle of the store to evade arrest. She refused entreaties for her to come out and continued rallying the crowd against the police. Two elderly customers tried to come to her aid but were warned away by the police.
Eventually, when the police reached under the table to pull her out, Ng shoved his hand away. A violent struggle ensued and Ng was arrested. Footage of the incident was shared widely online.
While Ng was escorted to a police vehicle, she continued to shout that “Huawei is a scammer”.
Ng’s lawyer, Tan Hee Joek, said that his client acted completely out of character and had believed that a policewoman would arrest her.
Addressing the court, a tearful Ng said, “Now I look at the video, I am very ashamed of myself. I didn’t intend to hurt the police officer.”
District Judge Toh Han Li noted that Ng was “continually defiant” to the police despite pleas to leave the store. The exchange lasted 15 minutes, and Ng even went under the table to thwart attempts to make her leave, DJ Toh said.
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