SINGAPORE — A former boss of popular eatery Zam Zam was granted bail on Tuesday (3 November) after he was charged again for threatening another employee from rival eatery Victory Restaurant.
Zackeer Abbass Khan, 50, was already sentenced on 11 May to six years’ jail and six strokes of the cane for his original offences but had his sentence stayed pending an appeal in the High Court on 9 November.
For his fresh offences, Zackeer was granted bail but was ordered not to be within a 1km-radius of Zam Zam and Victory Restaurant, and was electronically tagged for that purpose. Zam Zam and Victory Restaurant occupy adjacent units along North Bridge Road.
Zackeer, a Singaporean, had been involved in a protracted trial where he was accused of engaging in a conspiracy to cause grievous hurt to Victory restaurant’s supervisor Liakath Ali Mohamed Ibrahim. The latter was slashed in the face by a secret society member hired by Zackeer’s longtime friend, Anwer Ambiya Kadir Maideen.
For his new charge, Zackeer is accused of criminally intimidating Victory staff Amir Norman Halimby and saying in Malay, “Why you fight Habeeb? If you fight again, I poke your eye. If you love your family, you work properly. If not you see I kill you. I am not afraid, if I kill you. Because I already going in. If you fight again, in two days, you see I kill you”. He is said to have made the threat on 24 October at around 7pm at 719 North Bridge Road, an area near the rival eateries.
Around the same time, Zackeer allegedly swerved a Toyota Vellfire towards Amir before braking, forcing Amir to step back to avoid being hit. He faces a charge of committing a rash act to endanger his safety.
Zackeer was remanded three days after the alleged offences, with the court convening on Tuesday to decide on Zackeer’s bail.
One of Zackeer’s two new lawyers, Richard Lim, said that Amir used to work for Zackeer but had abruptly returned to his home country after getting his salary, only to return to Singapore to work for Victory Restaurant.
His other lawyer, Lolita Andrew, submitted for her client to be given bail, noting that he had fulfilled his bail conditions for five years from his original case as of 24 October. Zackeer committed his original offence on 26 August 2015.
The lawyer said that Zackeer, who had sole custody of five sons since 2012 and remarried in 2018, needed to be present to ensure some normalcy in his family life.
On the business front, Zackeer oversees 80 workers and needed to delegate roles and responsibilities to them, especially at a time when the business could be jeopardised due to the pandemic.
Zackeer was also suffering from a medical condition and had collapsed during investigations by the police. He had undergone a heart operation earlier, Andrew said.
Shedding some light on the charges, Andrew said that on the day of the offences, Zackeer was on the way to pick up one of his sons and his children were in the car when Amir allegedly came out on the roadside.
Zackeer had to jam brake in order not to hurt Amir. The lawyer added that her client will be claiming trial to both charges.
His case will be mentioned again on 9 November.
If convicted on committing a rash act to endanger a person’s life, Zackeer may be jailed up to six months, or fined up to $2,500, or both. For the offence of criminal intimidation to cause death, a person may be jailed up to seven years or up to 10 years, or fined, or both.
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