Man repeatedly punched and choked cabby who didn't want to send his wife home

Jessie Lim
The Straits Times
Oct 10, 2022

After a drinking session in Zouk, a man asked a taxi driver who was parked on River Valley Road to take his wife home.

When the cabby refused, Muhammad Taleb Kishen repeatedly punched and choked him.

On Monday, Taleb, 31, was sentenced to 17 weeks' jail after pleading guilty to assaulting the taxi driver and verbally abusing a police officer while drunk on a separate occasion.

The court heard that Taleb and some others had finished a drinking session at Zouk nightclub at about 2.30am on New Year's Day in 2020.

A man in Taleb's group, Koh Liang Cai, 29, spotted Mr Bernard Chan, 44, waiting nearby in his taxi. The cabby was hoping to get a taxi booking on his phone as he would earn more money that way.

The two men walked over to Mr Chan, and Taleb asked if he could take his wife home. But Mr Chan turned him down and said he could get a taxi from the taxi stand at Clarke Quay instead.

Koh then punched Mr Chan near his left eye by reaching through the front passenger seat window. Taleb went over to the driver's seat window and held the cabby down while Koh threw another punch at his head.

Taleb also started punching Mr Chan in the face multiple times near his right eye and nose before choking him.

When the police arrived, Taleb released the chokehold. Koh had left by then. His case will be dealt with separately.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Keith Thirumaran said Mr Chan did not fight back against Taleb and Koh.

He added: "The victim did not drive his taxi away because he was afraid of injuring the people who were in the vicinity."

As a result of his injuries, Mr Chan was hospitalised for seven days and given nine days of outpatient leave.

His medical fees amounted to $1,101. Taleb has since made full restitution to Mr Chan.

In a separate incident at the Police Cantonment Complex on Dec 2, 2019, Taleb hurled vulgarities at a police officer who was checking Taleb's possessions in his capacity as a public servant.

Investigations revealed that Taleb had been arrested and had consumed alcohol before the arrest.

When Senior Staff Sergeant Adrian Tung was examining his possessions, including a watch, Taleb warned him not to damage the items, and threatened to sue and assault him.

Taleb verbally abused Senior Staff Sgt Tung for 10 minutes, even after the officer had disengaged from him to process paperwork relating to his case.

For voluntarily causing hurt which causes grievous harm, offenders can be jailed for up to five years, fined up to $10,000, or both.

Those convicted of harassing a public servant can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both.

The Straits Times

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