31-year-old staff nurse jailed 5 months for punching taxi driver after attempt to evade cab fare

Elena Chong
The Straits Times
Feb 7, 2017

Angry that a taxi driver had taken his photograph without his permission, a staff nurse snatched the phone and punched the cabby inside a lift, a court heard.

When the lift door opened at level 11 of Block 141, Simei Street 2, Mr Tan Kok Peng, 59, tried to retrieve the phone from Arey Lauren Loretizo Dela Cruz.

But Dela Cruz, 31, threw the phone over the parapet and gave the cabby a another forceful punch on his left cheek.

He then rained blows on the victim's face. Mr Tan crouched on the floor in pain and covered his face to protect himself.

Dela Cruz fled from the scene by taking the stairs. Mr Tan later went downstairs and a few passers-by helped him to find Dela Cruz. Police came and arrested him.

On Tuesday (Feb 7), Dela Cruz was jailed for five weeks for causing hurt to Mr Tan at about 4am on Aug 27, 2016. He pleaded guilty.

He has made compensation of $1,338 to the victim, who was given seven days' medical leave.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia said that Mr Tan had picked up Dela Cruz at Orchard Towers at about 3.30am that day.

Along the way to Simei, Dela Cruz vomited at the back seat of the taxi.

When the driver arrived at Block 141, Simei Street 2, Dela Cruz left without paying the taxi fare of $23.

Mr Tan got out of his taxi and asked Dela Cruz to pay the fare. He also asked the passenger to pay him a total of $30, including the taxi fare, as Dela Cruz had vomited in the taxi and the victim had to get his taxi cleaned up.

When Dela Cruz found out that he had only $10 inside his wallet, he told Mr Tan to to follow him to his unit so that he could get some cash to pay the victim.

As the two of them were going up in the lift, Mr Tan decided to take a photograph of Dela Cruz in case the latter decided to run away.

Dela Cruz became angry and snatched the phone from Mr Tan and gave him a forceful punch on his cheek.

Dela Cruz subsequently threw the phone over the railing and assaulted Mr Tan, who suffered multiple contusions.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.

The Straits Times

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