Man and his father jailed for beating up 13-year-old who was playing football in public area
SINGAPORE: A man and his father were each jailed three weeks on Monday (Apr 18) for beating up a 13-year-old boy who was playing football in the multipurpose hall of a public housing block.
Retiree Ong Eng Seng, 62, and his son Bernard Ong Wei Feng, 31, a project manager at the time of the offence, each pleaded guilty to a count of voluntarily causing hurt.
Each man was also ordered to pay S$60 in compensation for the victim's medical bills.
The court heard that on Dec 22, 2019 at about 5pm, the victim and three of his friends were playing football in the multipurpose hall at Block 6, Toa Payoh Lorong 7.
During the game, the ball came close to the elder Ong, who was walking through the hall. He confronted the victim and his friends, shouting vulgarities at them, and the boys responded with more vulgarities.
Ong told the victim that he would be back. He then went home and asked his son for help to confront the victim and his friends. His son agreed.
Father and son then returned to the hall and approached the victim and his friends, who were seated, at about 5.30pm.
The younger Ong pulled the victim to his feet and shouted: "Eh you made fun of my dad uh. You think it's funny?" He held the victim by his neck and slammed him to the floor, causing the boy's head to hit the floor.
While the victim was lying on his back, the younger Ong also punched the boy on his right cheek and pressed him down against the floor before lifting him to his feet.
The elder Ong then strangled the victim's neck and slapped him five to six times, before pushing him towards a stone bench nearby. Both men then left the scene.
When the victim went to his grandmother's house, she saw that he was injured and took him to a police station to make a report.
He was then taken to a children's emergency department and found to have redness at the back of his head, tenderness along his neck and spine, and bruises on his face, neck, shoulder, back and arm.
The boy was discharged and advised to strictly avoid physical activity for two weeks.
The prosecution sought three to four weeks' jail for the two offenders, citing the commission of group violence and their substantial age difference with the victim.
Defence lawyer Mervyn Tan said the incident was an "act of social consciousness" that went awry, as the elder Ong was rebuking the boys for playing football in the area.
Mr Tan also said that the elder Ong felt aggravated by the victim and his friends as the boys had mocked him and used vulgarities.
The younger Ong in turn felt offended that young kids were taking advantage of his father and the situation "snowballed" after he went to confront them, said the lawyer.
He asked for a community-based sentence or not more than one week's jail.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong said the actions of both men were "clearly antisocial" as they had taken the law into their own hands and caused injuries to the victim.
He noted the need to signal to the public that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
Those guilty of voluntarily causing hurt can be jailed up to two years, fined up to S$5,000 or both.