SINGAPORE: A Nanyang Technological University (NTU) professor who collided with another driver before alighting and hitting the victim's car bonnet was sentenced to a week's jail and fined S$2,000 on Thursday (May 23).
Wang Jianliang, 57, was also given a driving ban of six months, which will take effect after he is released from prison.
The associate professor at NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering intends to appeal and has applied for a stay of execution.
Wang pleaded guilty to one count of a rash act endangering the safety of the other driver, 60-year-old Samuel Lim Yong Soon, and one charge of mischief for hitting Mr Lim's car.
A third charge of using criminal force on Mr Lim by grabbing his arm and pulling it was taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that both men had been driving on a merging lane to enter the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi Airport on the evening of Mar 16, 2017.
Traffic was heavy and moving slowly, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo. When Wang tried to filter into the merging lane, Mr Lim refused to give away, which "greatly annoyed" Wang.
He sped up intentionally and drove on the road shoulder in order to overtake Mr Lim's car. Video footage from both men's in-car cameras was played in court on Thursday.
With Mr Lim behind him, Wang abruptly jammed on the brakes of his car three times to show his displeasure at Mr Lim not giving way to him earlier.
On the third time, Mr Lim could not brake in time, and collided with Wang.
WANG HITS BONNET, DENTING IT
Both men stopped their cars in the second lane from the left of the five-lane PIE. Footage showed Wang and Mr Lim walking around the cars, gesturing at each other and taking photos of each other's vehicles.
Wang demanded to see Mr Lim's driving licence, but the latter refused and told him to check with the Land Transport Authority using the vehicle's registration number that he had photographed.
Wang flew into a rage and shouted at Mr Lim, who decided to return to his own vehicle. Wang tried to stop him but Mr Lim pushed him away, causing Wang to drop his phone.
As Mr Lim tried to drive away, Wang walked to the front of Mr Lim's car and hit the bonnet four times with force, causing dents that cost Mr Lim more than S$4,000 to repair.
The prosecutor sought a week's jail, six months' disqualification from driving, and a high fine, saying that Wang was "deliberate and persistent in his conduct", which occurred during peak hour on the PIE.
Wang had also been convicted in April 2007 for spitting at another person, the court was told.
His defence lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said the traffic was moving slowly at the time and there was "no chance of anyone being injured, and no one was injured".
"He's now saying sorry and he won't do it again," said Mr Thuraisingam, pointing out that his client had offered to pay the victim for the damages to his vehicle, but the victim had declined the money.
Referring to the spitting incident, District Judge Christopher Tan said the road rage case was not Wang's first act of aggression. He added that there was a "high degree of danger" in this case, with the packed traffic on the highway.
"The accused accelerated illegally on a road shoulder and cut into the victim's path," he said. "After that, he jammed on the brakes not once, not twice, but three times.
"Looking at the video, the accused's behaviour when he got out of the car was as belligerent as it was while he was behind the wheel.
"I am left in no doubt that this is a road rage case and the principle of general deterrence and safety of our road users is called into play."
An NTU spokesperson said on Thursday that Wang has been suspended, pending the outcome of the university's disciplinary proceedings.
"NTU expects all members of its community to represent the highest ethical standards and to comply with the law at all times."