One punch was all it took to kill Marsiling coffeeshop dishwasher

AsiaOne
Friday, May 27, 2016

A Vietnamese dishwasher was killed on Saturday evening (May 21) after he was punched by a friend during a heated argument at a workers' dormitory near Block 218 Marsiling Crescent.

The fracas started over dinner when Vietnamese national Phan Duc Thang, 33, questioned his friend, Ah Nam, 28, for failing to remit money to his parents.

Recounting how the tragedy unfolded, Ah Nam, a store assistant said: "Three of us were having dinner. When Phan started chiding me for not remitting money to my parents, I naturally got angry and told him to mind his business."

"Unhappy at my retort, he grabbed a chair and flung it at me. Thankfully, he missed," Ah Nam told Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News.

The third person at the dinner, Nguyen Trong Phu, 28, swung his fist unexpectedly at Phan's temple in a fit of rage.

"Nguyen felt that Phan's reaction wasn't necessary, hence [Nguyen's] action. After Nguyen punched Phan, Phan collapsed and was motionless. We were all very scared and called the ambulance immediately," Ah Nam added.

Phan died in the ambulance while he was sent to the hospital.

Nguyen was arrested the same day, and was charged in court on Monday (May 23).

It was later revealed that Phan died after sustaining a cerebral haemorrhage.

Two of Phan's brothers flew into Singapore on Wednesday (May 25) upon receiving word of his death.

Phan's elder brother, Ah Long, 40, told Shin Min Daily News that Phan was the sole breadwinner for his family, and he usually remitted 70 per cent of his monthly income back home.

"He was supporting our family of eight in Nghe An, Vietnam, including our 78-year-old mother. Phan earned $1,000, and he usually remitted $700 back, leaving $300 for himself," Ah Long, a farmer, said.

Phan is survived by his wife of 14 years and two sons aged 13 years old and eight months old.

If convicted, Nguyen could face up to seven years in prison, and a fine or caning.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

AsiaOne

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