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The Straits Times
January 18, 2023
Standing in the courtroom moments before proceedings started on Wednesday, Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai, 57, suddenly burst into tears.
It was the first day of the trial of Wong Xing Fong, the man accused of assaulting Madam Nita in a racially charged attack in 2021, and she had to step out to compose herself before returning to testify from behind an opaque screen set up in the courtroom.
The reasons for this were not disclosed.
In court, the woman said she would cry if she returned to the site of the incident.
Madam Nita said that Wong had used vulgar words before kicking her in the chest.
Her voice cracked when she told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan: “(The incident) affects me emotionally... I feel sad and scared. Is it wrong to be Indian? I didn’t choose to be Indian... I wish this didn’t happen.”
She also said: “Till today, you (take) me to that road, I will cry. I was very scared.”
Wong, 32, is claiming trial to one count each of assault and wounding Madam Nita’s racial feelings.
The Singaporean is accused of committing the offences near Northvale condominium in Choa Chu Kang on May 7, 2021.
On Wednesday, Madam Nita testified that at the time of the alleged assault, she was working at a fast-food restaurant at Choa Chu Kang Stadium in the morning, and as a private English tutor in the evening.
She told Judge Shaiffudin that she was brisk walking to the stadium with her mask down on May 7, 2021, when she heard somebody shouting from behind.
She said that she turned around and saw Wong and a female companion. She added that she did not know the pair before the alleged assault, and they told her to “mask up”.
Madam Nita said she knew it was mandatory to don a mask outdoors at the time due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that exceptions were made for those who were exercising. She had pulled her mask down to improve her breathing as she was brisk walking.
She testified that she had told the couple she was brisk walking.
Wong then stepped towards her and used racially charged vulgar words to insult her, she told the court.
She added: “I don’t like to fight, so I said, ‘God bless you’... Before I could think, he went towards me and kicked my chest. I was unprepared. It was very fast. I fell on my back... I cried out in fear.
“Before I could react, he ran back towards the lady, and they jogged (away), casual, like nothing happened.”
Madam Nita said another woman who had witnessed the incident came forward and helped her to her feet. She said the woman applied a plaster to a wound on her left forearm.
Madam Nita said she made a police report after her tuition classes that evening.
She told the court that she still felt scared about a month after the incident.
“Every single time when I walked (in the area), I felt scared as I thought (my assailant) would hit me... I wish I didn’t have to go there,” she added.
She eventually took another route to the restaurant.
While questioning Madam Nita, defence lawyer Sim Bing Wen said that according to his client, she had told Wong to mind his own business and spat at him.
Madam Nita denied this.
The trial will resume on Thursday.