Fish soup stall owner attacked rival hawker with wooden pole for selling same dish at Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
September 20, 2023

A fish soup stall owner used a wooden pole to attack a rival hawker who sold a similar dish at the same food centre, causing fractures to the victim’s skull and right wrist, as well as bleeding in his brain.

Peck Chuan Ann, 70, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Mr Punnataro Wee, 51, who received 75 days of hospitalisation leave.

The prosecution said Mr Wee is likely to suffer from a permanent impairment of his right wrist.

At the time of the offence, Peck owned a fish soup stall at Tanglin Halt Food Centre in Commonwealth Drive, while Mr Wee ran another stall selling a similar product at the eatery.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Louis Ngia said Peck saw the younger man as his rival, and the pair had previous disagreements.

On April 8, 2022, around 7am, Mr Wee walked past Peck at the food centre and said something that the prosecutor did not disclose.

About 10 minutes later, as Mr Wee was preparing to open his stall for business, Peck approached him from behind and used a wooden pole around 70cm long, which had a protruding nail, to repeatedly strike his head.

DPP Ngia said: “The victim’s wife, who was assisting to prepare for the stall’s opening... tried to stop the accused. The accused attempted to strike her with the wooden pole as well, but she managed to grab hold of the pole.

“Eventually, the victim and his wife managed to disarm the accused. After a scuffle, the accused ran away.”

The police were alerted shortly before 7.15am that day and Mr Wee was rushed to National University Hospital.

Peck later surrendered himself at a police station, upon his daughter’s advice.

On Tuesday, the DPP asked for him to be given between 18 and 22 months’ jail, adding: “The fracture to (Mr Wee’s) skull, an extremely vulnerable part of the body, was accompanied by bleeding of his brain. This was, without doubt, a very serious injury.”

Defence lawyer Sarbrinder Singh from Sanders Law pleaded for Peck to be sentenced to between nine months and a year in jail.

Mr Singh said his client was suffering from adjustment disorder with depressed mood at the time of the attack and is no longer operating his stall.

The lawyer also said Mr Wee had provoked Peck prior to the offence.

Peck is expected to be sentenced on Oct 5.

The Straits Times

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