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Former Zam Zam boss granted bail, barred from going near restaurant or rival Victory eatery pending appeal

Former Zam Zam boss granted bail, barred from going near restaurant or rival Victory eatery pending appeal

Zackeer Abbass Khan leaving the State Courts on Mar 6, 2020. (Photo: TODAY/Yong Jun Yuan)

SINGAPORE: The former boss of Zam Zam restaurant was granted bail on Tuesday (Nov 3) after being remanded for a week for fresh charges of committing a rash act and criminal intimidation against an employee of the rival Victory eatery.

This was with strict conditions for him not to go within a 1km radius of either Zam Zam restaurant or the next-door Victory eatery.

Zackeer Abbass Khan, 50, had been charged on Oct 27 with committing a rash act by swerving his car towards Mr Amir Norman Halim at 719 North Bridge Road before braking, forcing Mr Amir to take a step back.

He is also accused of criminally intimidating Mr Amir, his former employee who switched to join rival next-door eatery Victory.

READ: Former Zam Zam restaurant boss given new charges for offences allegedly committed while on bail

He allegedly said: “Why you fight Habeeb? If you fight again, I poke your eye. If you love your family, you work properly. If not you see I kill you. I am not afraid, if I kill you. Because I already going in. If you fight again, in 2 days, you see I kill you.”

These two new charges were given while Khan was on S$75,000 bail pending his appeal after being sentenced for hiring a hitman to slash a rival from the Victory restaurant.

He had been sentenced in May to six years’ jail and six strokes of the cane, after contesting charges in a trial.

He was found guilty of criminal intimidation and of conspiring with several others to have Victory restaurant supervisor Liakath Ali Mohamed Ibrahim slashed and scarred.

READ: Zam Zam owner gets jail, caning for hiring hitman to slash rival from Victory murtabak restaurant

District Judge Terence Tay granted the request for bail after considering extensive arguments from Khan's two lawyers and the prosecutor, who objected to bail.

Judge Tay initially said there would be a danger to the people around him if Khan does not take bail conditions seriously, since the two eateries are next to each other. 

Defence lawyer Lolita Andrew told the court that her client had been on bail for five years before the fresh alleged offences, and had never breached any of his bail conditions.

She said Khan was a single father with sole custody of his five sons and is a family-centric person. He is also a businessman with up to 80 workers under him and needs to delegate responsibilities to staff during "these trying pandemic times", she added.

Khan also has a medical condition and claimed he collapsed while being investigated by police. This was after he went through a heart operation.

Ms Andrew added that "it's trite that a person is innocent until proven guilty" and liberty should not be deprived aside from considerations of the law.

She argued that Khan was going to pick up one of his sons, who works at Zam Zam, on the day of the new alleged offence. He had all his children in the car when Mr Amir "came out on the road side", forcing Khan to brake.

Khan purportedly asked Mr Amir why he caused his family some level of danger, but this was "construed differently".

Second lawyer Richard Lim said Khan denies the charges and will claim trial. He said Khan's appeal in the High Court for the offences he has already been sentenced for is in just six days, and urged the judge to allow him bail to liaise with his lawyers for that matter.

Judge Tay said he would grant Khan bail of S$30,000 until the appeal is heard, a higher sum than usual for such offences, and with very strict conditions.

Khan is not allowed to contact the victim, the prosecution's witnesses, any employee or shareholder from Victory restaurant. 

He must be electronically tagged and cannot be within a 1km radius of Zam Zam or the Victory eatery.

Source: CNA/ll

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