Couple in Toa Payoh hawker centre incident feel 'punished by society', hope to apologise in person to elderly man

Lester Hio
The Straits Times
Aug 12, 2017

The couple caught verbally abusing and shoving an elderly man at a Toa Payoh hawker centre in a viral video said they believe they have been "punished by society" over the past four months.

Mr Chow Chuin Yee, 45 and Ms Tay Puay Leng, 38, were fined in court on Friday (Aug 11) for the use of criminal force and harassment on Mr Ng Ai Hua, 76, in April.

Ms Tay was fined $1,200 for using abusive words on the retiree, causing alarm, while Mr Chow was fined $1,500 for using criminal force.

Asked about comments from netizens that they had got off lightly with a fine, Mr Chow told The Sunday Times on Saturday (Aug 12) that they have been "living like fugitives" to prevent any further public incidents after facing backlash both online and in public.

Ms Tay, a tutor at Novel Learning Centre, said she sought psychiatric help sometime in June, after she experienced anxiety being in public. She is currently still on medication.

Mr Chow, a director at the same centre, which provides tuition services, recounted an incident that took place six weeks after the video went viral.

"I took her out to have a meal at a hawker centre. But someone recognised us, and started to film us, drawing a lot of attention for other people to look at us," said Mr Chow. "We were just queuing up for a meal; it's scary."

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