SINGAPORE: While having dinner and drinks with his colleagues at the Bedok 85 hawker centre, an intoxicated man spotted a couple looking for seats and became annoyed.
Thinking the man was staring at him, he walked over, coughed intentionally and asked him "what are you looking at?" in Hokkien.
The couple walked away intending to find another place to dine at, but the aggressor confronted them and an argument broke out. A fight subsequently ensued after the aggressor's friend came to join in.
Roger Lian Yong Hong, whom the prosecutor claims started the incident, was given two weeks and five days' jail on Monday (Jun 28).
His friend Peh Kok Yong, who joined in the altercation, was fined S$1,500.
Lian, 40, pleaded guilty to a charge each of affray and voluntarily causing hurt, while Peh, 44, admitted to one charge of affray.
The court heard the co-accused, 29-year-old Jovi Neo Kok Sian, was at the hawker centre at Block 85, Bedok North Street 4 with his wife at about 10pm on Aug 28 last year.
As the couple was searching for seats, Lian noticed Neo looking at him and grew unhappy. He walked to the couple, coughed deliberately and asked "kua simi?", or "what are you looking at?", in Hokkien.
The couple then walked towards the car park at the back of the hawker centre, intending to go elsewhere to eat, but Lian approached them again.
They began arguing, with Lian and Neo repeatedly asking each other "what do you want?" in Hokkien. Lian's phone rang and he answered it, saying "at the back". Peh arrived subsequently and headed aggressively towards Neo.
At the same time, Lian grabbed Neo's shirt and Neo punched Peh in the face, causing the latter to fall to the ground.
Lian and Peh began exchanging punches with Neo, chasing after him when he tried to run. The altercation ended only after Lian noticed that Neo's wife had been recording the incident.
Lian punched her near her right temple, causing her to fall to the ground, and kicked her leg.
All those involved suffered injuries: Neo fractured his finger, Lian sustained swelling and abrasions, Peh scraped his knees and elbows, and suffered blunt trauma on his eye, while Neo's wife had abrasions on her elbow and knee.
A few members of the public called the police about the fight at the market.
LIAN HAS PREVIOUS RELATED CONVICTIONS
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yeow Xuan called for a few weeks' jail for Lian, citing his previous convictions of voluntarily causing hurt and riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in 2017.
She said Lian was the instigator of the fight, taking needless offence over a staring incident and escalating matters by rallying Peh to the scene.
She asked for a "high fine" for Peh, noting that his culpability was lower than Lian's and that he did not contribute much to the fight as he was so intoxicated that he was mostly stumbling or falling over.
Lian's lawyer asked for two weeks' jail for his client, saying he is genuinely remorseful and recognises that he should have kept his emotions in check.
"Even though he was going through a very tough time in his life at that time; he was stressed over ... very serious marital problems that could eventually lead to a divorce and his son's autism," said counsel Favian Kang.
Peh, who had no lawyer, said he was the sole breadwinner for his wife and two children, and asked for a fine and no jail term.
The judge granted Lian's request to defer his sentence as his son, who has autism, is starting school for the first time.
Neo's case is pending.