Construction worker gets jail for attacking colleague for 'not doing enough work'

Construction worker gets jail for attacking colleague for 'not doing enough work'

Singapore construction
File photo of a construction site in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Unhappy that his colleague was "not doing enough work" at the construction site, a worker attacked him over four occasions while on shift.

On Wednesday (Sep 12), Li Dong was sentenced to 13 weeks' jail for one charge of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon, and a second charge of voluntarily causing hurt. Two other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Both men are Chinese nationals aged 46 who worked with Meztec Construction, the court heard. Li's work permit was cancelled after the assault.

The victim, Mr Qu Hanjun, is a construction worker for the company and was appointed as a foreman, although he did not have supervisory powers over Li.

On May 18 this year, Li confronted Mr Qu at a construction site in Tampines "for not doing enough work", Deputy Public Prosecutor Jarret Huang said.

"This may have been because the victim, being a foreman, was not tasked with as much physical work," he added.

They began quarrelling, and Li kicked his colleague, before punching the back of his neck. Li was restrained by other workers, and Mr Qu was moved to a different dormitory.

ATTACKED VICTIM AGAIN AT WORK SITE BRIEFING

More than a month later, on Jul 2, Li attended a work site briefing in Yuan Ching Road with Mr Qu.

The latter was sitting on a low wall, listening to the briefing, when Li used half a brick and hit him on the back of his neck.

Li was again restrained and Mr Qu felt dizzy from the attack and was taken back to his dorm. The pain persisted even though he rested and took Chinese medication, and he went to a polyclinic three days later where he was diagnosed with contusions and given two days' medical leave and pain medication.

This act was witnessed by a Bangladeshi construction worker, who said he was sure that he saw Li using a brick in his hand to hit Mr Qu.

Li also hit Mr Qu on his back with the flat part of a scraper and punched his face at the Yuan Ching Road construction site in May.

Mr Qu lodged a report together with his manager in July after the incident with the brick.

The prosecution had asked for 16 weeks' jail, saying that Li had persisted in attacking the same victim, and that he had denied his actions until he was told there was video footage.

He said there should be "a strong deterrent message to other foreign workers that these wanton acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned by the State".

Li's defence lawyer asked for six weeks' jail, saying that her client claimed he had been bullied by Mr Qu, who scolded him "every single day".

In a letter to the judge, Li said he acted on impulse and was remorseful.

"I have two aged parents, two school-going children, a wife who is unemployed, and I'm the sole breadwinner of the family. Please give me a chance," he wrote in Chinese.

His lawyer added that Li was "a very hard-working construction worker who has come to Singapore over the last eight years".

In giving his sentence, District Judge Marvin Bay said it was fortunate that the injuries caused were not more serious, as the brick attack could have caused "even death".

He told Li: "Even if you have a turbulent history of altercation with the victim, you should be mindful that you are here to make a living. You must curtail your propensity for violence if you hope to provide for your family by working overseas."

He added that there is a need "to keep our construction sites and other work premises safe".

For voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon, Li could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, caned, or any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/ll(mn)

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