Mercedes driver charged for public nuisance after throwing away bus captain's phone in confrontation

Aqil Hamzah
The Straits Times
Nov 6, 2022

After getting honked at by a public bus driver, a man boarded the vehicle and confronted the driver before snatching his phone and throwing it onto the road.

On Saturday, the car driver, Teo Kian Chin, 42, was charged in court with committing a public nuisance.

Footage of the incident – which took place at a bus stop in Flora Drive on Oct 31 near midnight – has been shared on social media and shows Teo shouting at the SBS Transit bus driver.

The bus driver had sounded his horn when he could not exit the bus bay because Teo’s car – a black Mercedes-Benz sedan – was in the way along the single-lane road.

Teo is then seen shouting at the bus captain before driving a short distance away, only to return to the bus.

He pressed the emergency door button on the bus’ exterior and boards the vehicle. He confronts the bus captain and grabs the latter’s phone. A woman, believed to be Teo’s passenger, coaxes him to alight, and he flings the phone onto the road.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Mrs Grace Wu, SBS Transit’s vice-president for customer experience and communications, said the bus operator does not “tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation and verbal abuse against our bus captains”.

The phone was returned to the bus captain by the woman, said Mrs Wu, who added that the bus captain had been in contact with SBS Transit’s operations control centre throughout the incident.

She said: “As a matter of policy, we will not tolerate any abuse against our staff and will fully back any staff member who wishes to defend his rights beyond the criminal justice system and file for civil action.

“This means helping victimised staff navigate the legal system, including appointing representation, as well as undertaking the costs.”

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Mr Melvin Yong, the National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) executive secretary, described Teo’s actions as “thuggish and unreasonable”.

Citing the Highway Code, which states that vehicles are not allowed to be parked at a bus stop, Mr Yong said: “The NTWU does not tolerate any abuse of our public transport workers when they are carrying out their duties.”

If convicted of committing a public nuisance, Teo can be fined up to $2,000.

The Straits Times

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