SINGAPORE: A man was charged on Thursday (Sep 17) with assaulting a bus driver and carrying a knife on a bus in Pasir Ris.
According to SBS Transit, the altercation occurred because of the accused's alleged failure to wear a mask.
Ja'afally Abdul Rahim, 52, was given one charge of voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Low Kok Weng at about 2.50pm on Sep 15, on bus service 21 along Pasir Ris Drive 1.
He was handed a second charge of possessing an offensive weapon - a knife with a 6cm blade and a 6cm handle - on the bus.
SBS Transit said the victim, a bus captain, was assaulted for "a good 12 minutes".
Ja'afally boarded the bus without wearing a mask and put it on only after he was on the vehicle, SBS Transit said on Facebook on Wednesday.
He then started hurling vulgarities at the bus captain, said SBS Transit. This continued for two more bus stops until the captain arrived at a stop and waited for the police, who had been alerted to the case, said SBS Transit.
Before the police arrived, the man attacked the bus captain, grabbing him at the neck and collar, said SBS Transit.
Three men at the bus stop intervened and tackled the assailant, pinning him on the ground until the police arrived soon after, said SBS Transit.
The bus captain sought treatment at a hospital and was given three days' medical leave.
"We are thankful that he did not sustain any serious injuries. He is shaken but remains in good spirits," said the bus operator. SBS Transit also thanked the three men who "gallantly stepped forward" to help.
The bus operator added that the case was not an isolated incident, with "several" bus captains "abused" in the past few months "on account of enforcing the strict mask-up rule".
"This is repugnant. And this must stop," said SBS Transit.
Ja'afally will return to court next month. If convicted of voluntarily causing hurt, he could be jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.
If found guilty of possessing a dangerous weapon, he can be jailed for up to three years. He cannot be given the mandatory minimum of six strokes of the cane as he is above 50.