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A 45-year-old taxi driver was attacked by a drunk passenger and then offered $50 to let the matter rest in the wee hours of Friday (Feb 10).
Mr Huang Yaohua said he had picked up two female passengers at Cuppage Plaza along Orchard Road at around 4.55am. The destination was Toa Payoh.
One of the women, who was in her 20s, had already quarrelled with her friend by the roadside prior to boarding the taxi. She also reeked of alcohol.
Mr Huang told Shin Min Daily News: "I asked them directly if they would vomit in the taxi. They promised they wouldn't, so I started the car and drove."
However, they had only travelled 10 metres when the drunk woman shouted at her friend, then suddenly reached out from the backseat and grabbed Mr Huang's head.
"I felt a piercing pain and immediately stopped the car," recounted Mr Huang, who was left with three bloody scratches on his head.
Mr Huang said both passengers alighted from the taxi, but the drunk woman remained agitated and wanted to continue attacking him. Hence, he called the police.
Photos shared with Shin Min show the drunk woman lying on the side of the road after the police arrived, while her friend can be seen squatting down. Handbags and their belongings were also strewn all over the ground.
According to Mr Huang, the friend had offered him money to 'settle things'. After he stopped the car, she had apparently tried to hand him a $50 note and pleaded with him to 'forget it'.
Mr Huang declined the money.
"We (drivers) are doing our job, we are not a tool for others to vent," he told Shin Min.
Mr Huang said he usually avoids places where there may be alcoholics. However, he had just dropped off customers in the area that fateful night and was about to do a booking in the vicinity of Bishan. Seeing that the two women were headed to Toa Payoh, he decided to pick them up.
The incident has left a shadow on Mr Huang and he is even considering not doing the night shift in future.
He added: "I also intend to seek compensation from the woman who attacked me."
In response to media queries, ComfortDelGro said the passenger appeared to be drunk during the incident.
A spokesman said: "Our driver was scratched on the head and was given three days of medical leave. The police are investigating the matter and we will do our best to assist the driver."