Another bus driver assaulted; attacker charged

Another bus driver assaulted; attacker charged

The assault happened late Thursday night, and the assailant, who was suspected to be drunk during the attack, has been arrested.

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File photo of an SBS Transit bus. (Photo: Francine Lim)

SINGAPORE: A 45-year-old man believed to have drunkenly assaulted a bus driver was charged on Saturday (Jan 7) with voluntarily causing hurt and drunkenness in public.

Choo Chong Jin was arrested on Thursday night after police received a report about an assault at Bukit Merah Bus Interchange.

A bus driver was assaulted in a late-night attack by an assailant who was believed to be drunk, National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) executive secretary Melvin Yong said on Friday.

The assault took place on Thursday night, when the driver of service 139 tried to wake a sleeping passenger when the bus arrived at Bukit Merah Interchange, SBS Transit said in a statement issued later on Friday. It added that the man suddenly turned aggressive and assaulted the driver.

Police said that they received a report about the incident about 11.50pm on Thursday night.

The bus driver had sought help from his colleagues at the bus interchange, and a security officer helped detain the suspect, police said, adding that the suspect was believed to have been drunk during the incident.

He was arrested when the police arrived.

The bus driver suffered facial injuries and is currently on medical leave, said NTWU's Mr Yong in a Facebook post.

"The union is thankful that SBS Transit responded promptly to assist and support the injured bus captain," wrote Mr Yong.

SBS Transit said it would continue to assist the bus driver as he recuperates. A spokesperson for the public transport operator said: "Such acts of violence against our bus captains cannot be condoned and must be stopped and we will pursue all avenues to ensure that justice is served."

Mr Yong pointed out that public transport workers are protected under the Protection from Harassment Act. "I intend to raise this at the Public Transport Tripartite Committee as we call upon all stakeholders of the public transport industry to come together, to raise awareness against the abuse of our bus captains who work hard to provide commuters a safe ride to their destination."

If convicted of voluntarily causing hurt, he faces jail of up to two years or a fine of up to S$5,000 or both. If found gulty of drunkenness in public, he faces a maximum of six months in jail or a fine of up to S$1,000 or both.

The incident came less than a week after a series of assaults on SBS Transit bus drivers on New Year's Eve. A 23-year-old man is helping police with investigations into the attacks.

Source: CNA/dt