Man admits charging towards retiree in dispute over void deck smoking, victim fell and died
The retiree chased the 36-year-old man around a pillar and the bank worker later charged at him, causing the elderly man to fall backwards and hit his head fatally.
SINGAPORE: After spotting a 74-year-old man smoking at a void deck, a bank worker confronted the older man and took photos of him.
The elderly man chased the bank worker around a pillar, and in the ensuing scuffle, the bank worker charged towards the old man, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground.
He was taken to hospital with multiple head injuries and died later that night.
Allan Chua Kim Wee, 36, pleaded guilty on Friday (Feb 3) to one count of voluntarily causing hurt, where he did not intend to cause grievous hurt, but where grievous hurt was caused.
The court heard that Chua was a customer due diligence analyst at a bank in Singapore at the time.
On Dec 25, 2021, Chua was on his way home after having breakfast at Hougang Mall when he saw the victim, 74-year-old retiree Ng Sioh Leng.
Mr Ng was smoking while sitting on a bench at a void deck of Block 328, Hougang Avenue 5.
Chua wanted to lodge a complaint about the smoking, so he began taking multiple photos of Mr Ng with his mobile phone. Chua also confronted Mr Ng about his smoking at the void deck.
Mr Ng responded by chasing Chua around a pillar, court documents stated.
Chua evaded Mr Ng and walked towards a lift lobby. However, he noticed Mr Ng advancing towards him, holding a walking stick.
Chua lowered his stance and charged towards Mr Ng, hitting Mr Ng in the stomach area with his right shoulder.
Mr Ng fell backwards from the impact and hit the back of his head on the ground.
Part of the encounter was captured on police camera footage at the lift lobby.
When Chua realised that Mr Ng was not responding after falling, he called the police.
He said: "This guy wanted to attack me with a stick and I retaliated and now he is injured. I am sorry but I need the ambulance here."
Mr Ng was taken to hospital with numerous head injuries including fractures in his skull. He was later admitted into the intensive care unit and died later that night.
An autopsy found his cause of death to be a severe head injury.
PROSECUTION SEEKING JAIL
The prosecution is seeking four years' jail for Chua, "considering that (his) actions led to the death of the victim".
He said there is no sentencing framework for offences under Section 323A, and reported and unreported precedents do not cover instances where the victim died.
He noted that Chua had initiated and continued the confrontation, and was about twice the victim's size.
Chua was 173cm tall and weighed 100kg, while the victim was 161cm tall and 54kg.
Chua was also much more mobile than the victim, said the prosecutor.
However, he said Chua demonstrated remorse by calling for medical assistance immediately, and he was cooperative during investigations.
Chua’s lawyer Ranjit Singh asked for 24 months’ jail instead, saying his client was “deeply traumatised and remorseful” over what happened.
He said his client has “a strong sense of civil-mindedness” and feels “strongly responsible to the community”.
He takes it upon himself to ensure that the neighbourhood is “safe and properly maintained”, said Mr Singh.
“Prior to this incident, our client (lodged) an average of three to four cases per month on the OneService Portal to provide feedback on estate issues such as high-rise littering, dirty public areas, common area maintenance (for example potholes) and smoking at the void deck,” said the lawyer.
Chua will return to court next week for sentencing.
The penalties for voluntarily causing hurt, where the hurt was not intended to be grievous but turned out to be so, is a jail term of up to five years, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.