SINGAPORE: Upset after arguing with a passenger over having to wait for him, a taxi driver stabbed the younger man in the chest with a pair of scissors.
For one count of voluntarily causing hurt with a stabbing instrument, 71-year-old Chua Ah Soon was sentenced to seven months' jail on Monday (Feb 10).
The court heard that Chua was an SMRT taxi driver at the time.
He picked up the victim, 27-year-old Saifuddin Norrudin, at Victoria Street at about 3.30am on May 16 last year.
The victim told him to go to Gay World Hotel at Geylang.
When they arrived at the hotel, the passenger tried looking for a black file, which he had misplaced, but could not find it.
He then told Chua to go to the Shell petrol station at 203 Geylang Lorong 7, as he had gone there earlier and wanted to look for the file there.
Chua drove the passenger to the petrol station, where the latter alighted and went into the kiosk to ask about the file.
The taxi meter was still running, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Han.
Chua went into the kiosk after the passenger less than five minutes later.
He expressed his unhappiness at having to wait, and asked the victim when he was going to make payment as well as how much longer he had to wait.
The passenger replied that he intended to return to the Bugis area, and would pay him in full later.
The two men began arguing, and Chua retrieved a pair of scissors from his taxi.
In their quarrel, Chua pushed the passenger in the neck, causing the latter to take a few steps back and adopt a defensive position.
Chua moved towards the victim and stabbed him twice with the scissors.
The victim ran, with Chua on his heels, and sought help from a pump attendant.
The attendant later helped the victim pay the cab fare and Chua left the petrol station.
The passenger called for an ambulance, saying: "I got stabbed, I got two open wounds."
The call was routed to the police, and Chua also made a police report.
Chua told the police that a dispute had broken out between him and his passenger, but did not mention the stabbing.
He was arrested later that day and his scissors seized.
The victim was taken to hospital with an 8cm laceration on the back of his neck and a stab wound on his chest.
He was warded for about a week and given hospitalisation leave for a month.
The prosecution said there was strong public interest in deterring offences committed against those using public transport.
"Such offences directly affect public safety and security given that public transport is an indispensable part of many people's daily lives; there is a need to send a strong message that people should be able to go about their daily affairs without any fear of physical violence," said the prosecutor.
For voluntarily causing hurt by means of a stabbing instrument, Chua could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined. He cannot be caned as he is above 50.