Fish soup stall owner who attacked rival hawker using wooden pole with protruding nail given jail

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
October 5, 2023

A former fish soup stall owner was sentenced to 16 months’ jail on Thursday for using a wooden pole to attack a rival hawker, who sold a similar dish at the same food centre.

The victim, Mr Punnataro Wee, 51, had fractures on his skull and right wrist, as well as bleeding in his brain.

He later received 75 days of hospitalisation leave.

His assailant, Peck Chuan Ann, 71, pleaded guilty in September to voluntarily causing grievous hurt.

The prosecution said in earlier court proceedings that Mr Wee was likely to suffer 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 there.

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

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

Mr Wee was preparing to open his stall for business about 10 minutes later when Peck approached him from behind and used a wooden pole, which had a protruding nail, to strike his head.

In September, DPP Ngia told the court: “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 surrendered himself at a police station upon his daughter’s advice.

Defence lawyer Sarbrinder Singh from Sanders Law had 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.

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

The Straits Times

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