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Man jailed for assaulting wife, fighting with passer-by over 'Guan Yin Ma sighting'

Man jailed for assaulting wife, fighting with passer-by over 'Guan Yin Ma sighting'

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A man was sentenced to jail on Tuesday (Sep 27) for an assortment of hurt charges including punching his wife, throwing hot water on her and fighting with a passer-by over a purported sighting of "Guan Yin Ma" or the Goddess of Mercy.

Philip Ong Guo Xiang, 34, was sentenced to 11 months and two weeks' jail. He pleaded guilty to five charges including voluntarily causing hurt and causing hurt by an act endangering the personal safety of others. Another four charges were considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Ong, a warehouse worker, was with his 34-year-old wife near Block 206, Bedok North Street 1 on Sep 28, 2021.

They were there to buy a handphone screen protector and to meet their ComCare social worker. ComCare is under the Ministry of Social and Family Development and provides social assistance for low-income individuals and families.

Ong and his wife were taking a smoke break outside a social service office when they started taking pictures of the sky, as they had heard there was something resembling "Guan Yin Ma", the Buddhist Goddess of mercy, compassion and kindness.

They were discussing what they saw when a passer-by, a 62-year-old food delivery rider, asked them what they were doing. Ong told him that there was supposed to be something in the sky resembling "Guan Yin Ma", so the delivery rider also began taking pictures.

However, he failed to see anything that resembled the Goddess of Mercy, the prosecutor said.

About five minutes later, he confronted Ong and alleged that Ong was a scammer. The delivery rider also began taking pictures of Ong and his wife. Ong asked the rider to stop and to delete the pictures, but the rider refused.

He challenged Ong to a fight and threatened to have Ong or his wife beaten up if they stepped foot in Lorong 20, Geylang.

Angered by this, Ong pushed the delivery rider on his chest and kicked his knee. The rider lost his balance and fell against a nearby stone bench.

A woman who was walking by saw what happened and called the police.


Ong and his wife got into trouble again in February this year near Bedok Point Shopping Centre. A 37-year-old woman who was with her daughter and husband saw Ong and his wife arguing.

Ong was angry that he had misplaced his TraceTogether token. When his wife tried to calm him down, he picked up a traffic cone and threw it at a nearby pillar. The cone hit the pillar and the 37-year-old woman, striking her arm.

Her husband called the police and paramedics attended to her.

Ong blew up at his wife again in May this year, as he was upset with her for oversleeping after taking some medication. He punched her in the eye, causing it to swell and she could not open her eye.

His wife fell asleep in the living room, but woke up to a burning sensation on her face. Ong had splashed hot liquid at her, upset that she had called him names.

His wife denied it and reminded him that she had been asleep the whole time. Ong then apologised to her.

In another occasion on Jun 2 this year, Ong punched his wife in the head when they were arguing over how to split S$500 that they had received from ComCare. A passer-by reported the incident to the police, and they found Ong's wife with a bloodshot eye and scald injuries on her body from the previous incident.

In mitigation on Tuesday, Ong apologised and asked for a chance, saying he had apologised to his wife and she had forgiven him. He added that he would try to control his behaviour.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)


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