Cleaner spat at supervisor who asked him to sanitise MRT area

·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
A man in handcuffs.
A man in handcuffs. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A cleaner refused to comply with his supervisor’s instructions to sanitise areas within MRT every two hours and instead spat at the supervisor’s face.

Kang Poh Kim, 70, was jailed for two weeks on Thursday (2 December) after he pleaded guilty to one count of using criminal force on his superior, a 50-year-old woman deployed to work at Tuas Link MRT, where Kang worked as a cleaner.

On 30 July this year, the victim told Kang to sanitise the MRT gantry and the top-up machine at the concourse every two hours.

Kang refused to take instructions and raised his voice at the victim, who ignored him. The supervisor proceeded to clean up the area on behalf of Kang. She later informed the company's management about Kang’s defiance as it was not the first time he had been uncooperative.

Later that day, she told Kang that he would be transferred to another location and escorted him to the storeroom so that he could change out of his work attire.

A while later, as the victim was engaged in her cleaning duties, Kang confronted her and spat at her face. A colleague of the victim saw the incident and pulled Kang away.

Kang had previously been convicted in court in 2013 for using abusive language and was fined $400. In February 2015, he was convicted on affray and fined $2,000.

In mitigation, Kang, who is now unemployed, said that he was not given any instructions when he first reported for work in the area.

He claimed he was assigned to clean at the concourse, and his colleague working at the platform was absent. After he declined to clean at the platform, he took a call with his supervisor and shouted at her, saying that she should have assigned a replacement for the task.

He then alleged that the victim was arrogant and a "bully".

But District Judge (DJ) Bala Reddy noted that this did not give Kang a "license" to spit at her.

Kang asked for a “low” jail term and added that “many things in the law” were not right, prompting DJ Reddy to say that he did not make the law.

After DJ Reddy passed the sentence, Kang asked for it to be lower. But the judge pointed out that Kang’s previous offences were also related to his anger. Kang replied that he was a sick man who needed to take medicine.

For using criminal force, Kang could have been jailed up to three months, or fined up to $1,500, or both.

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