Man fined for attacking woman after she did not keep lift doors open for him

Man fined for attacking woman after she did not keep lift doors open for him

Tah Ching Road lift accident
File photo of lifts at an HDB block. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)

SINGAPORE: When a woman did not keep the lift doors open for him, a 51-year-old man butted in with his walking stick and quarrelled with her before attacking her.

Seo Chye Sin was fined S$3,750 on Tuesday (Oct 27) after pleading guilty to a charge each of voluntarily causing hurt and using criminal force. A third charge was taken into consideration.

The court heard that Seo was jobless at the time and used a walking stick and an ankle brace to move about due to his medical condition. 

He was admitted to hospital between June 2015 to August 2016 due to a stroke and suffered from hemiplegia - weakness on one side of the body - at the time of the incident.

At about 7pm on Jan 27, 2019, the victim, a 49-year-old woman, entered the lift at a Housing Board block in Choa Chu Kang.

Seo walked towards the lift and told the woman to wait for him, but she pressed the lift button for the fourth floor and the doors began to close.

Seo stretched his walking stick out towards the lift door to stop it from closing and entered the lift, pressing the button for the 15th floor.

He turned to face the victim and asked her why she had not held the door open for him and they started arguing.

The lift did not stop at the fourth floor, where the victim intended to get off, and she pressed the button again.

Seo told her to "press harder lah", and the pair exchanged glares, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu.

When the lift arrived at the 15th floor, Seo walked out of the lift, before stopping the door from closing and asking the woman "what do you want".

They began scuffling at the lift lobby, and Seo's walking stick and the woman's mobile phone dropped to the floor. 

Seo pushed the woman on her upper chest, and she pushed him away and bent down to pick up her phone.

Seo then punched her head a few times, and the woman shouted for help. Seo's wife and son heard the commotion and rushed to the lift lobby to separate him from the victim.

The victim called her friend, who contacted the police. The next day, she saw a doctor, who found a large bruise over her temple extending to her eyebrow.

The prosecutor asked for a fine of at least S$4,800, saying that Seo had targeted a vulnerable part of the victim's body and was "demonstrably aggressive" towards her.

The defence asked for leniency and a fine of S$1,800, citing Seo's medical condition. 

"This heavily restricts the use of his left arm," said defence lawyer Terence Seah. "As such, it is difficult for him to find employment and he has not been employed since June 2016."

He said his client was previously invited to a hospital to motivate other stroke patients in their rehabilitation and also volunteered at SPD, previously called the Society for the Physically Disabled.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Seo could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both. For using criminal force, he could have been jailed for up to three months, fined up to S$1,500, or both.

Source: CNA/ll