A woman who was caught on video drunkenly tussling with a taxi driver and security officer was sentenced to three weeks’ jail and fined $1,000 on Tuesday (2 January).
Taiwanese national Huang Chih-Yung, also known as Dina Huang, had refused to pay her taxi fare and rained blows on taxi driver Cheng Teck Wei, 43, when he tried to prevent her from leaving.
The 31-year-old Huang, who works as a broker here, also attacked 39-year-old security officer Jeivanay Alimithu, who tried to intervene in the scuffle with Cheng.
Dressed in a white T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, Huang admitted in the State Courts to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to Cheng and one count of using abusive words on Jeivanay. Another two counts of a similar nature were taken into consideration for her sentencing.
The incident took place on 7 December 2016 after Huang boarded Cheng’s taxi from Marina Bay Sands at around 11.05pm. She had consumed at least 750ml of sake by that point.
When she arrived at the SkySuites@Anson condominium along Enggor Street, Huang alighted from the cab without paying the fare.
In response, Cheng got out of his vehicle to chase Huang. He held onto Huang’s handbag to stop her from leaving while shouting at the building’s two security officers, including Jeivanay, for help.
Huang then began hitting Cheng on his arm. She also attempted to kick Cheng, who dodged the blow. As Cheng refused to relinquish his hold on Huang’s handbag, she hit him at least four times while shouting in Mandarin for him to let go.
Cheng eventually released his hold and Huang walked away after hurling an expletive at him. She told him that she would wait for the police and that she “had a lot of money” but refused to pay the fare.
A while later, she started to hit Cheng again and told him to call the police. Cheng’s spectacles fell off and chipped as a result of the assault.
After the incident, Huang entered a nearby Japanese restaurant, The Public Izakaya 2, and began shouting. When she was approached by the restaurant’s assistant manager, she said in Mandarin that her bag had been taken away from her.
The assistant manager followed her out of the restaurant, where Huang got into another scuffle with Cheng. Jeivanay then intervened and attempted to calm Huang down but the latter bit her on the left hand. Huang also hit Jeivanay’s head.
As the two were quarrelling, Huang also hurled vulgarities at the security officer.
When the police arrived, they noticed that Huang reeked of alcohol. She also squatted outside the restaurant and began to doze off. She walked away in a zig-zag line after being handed a case card by the police.
Cheng suffered scratch marks over her fingers while Jeivanay suffered bite marks on her left hand. Huang was also diagnosed with bruises over her elbows and forearms, right thigh and both knees.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Mark Yeo sought a jail term of at least three weeks and a large fine, arguing that the dispute had arisen because Huang had refused to pay her fare. Cheng had to hold on to her bag to prevent her from leaving, said the DPP.
Huang’s lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said that Huang had consumed alcohol while entertaining clients for her work. The lawyer disagreed with the prosecution that it was necessary for Cheng to grab Huang’s bag, adding that the cabby should have called the police.
Sudheesan asked for a three-week jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
He added that Huang hoped to keep working in Singapore as her company, which was not revealed in court, was “sympathetic” and will continue employing her as they knew that her actions were a “once-off break from character”.