When anger is mismanaged, it will result in violence and injuries. This is exactly what happened between two cab drivers caught in road rage.
The attacker Ng Soon Kim, 66, was sentenced to 14 months of jail time and banned from driving for 18 months after pleading guilty that he ignited insecticide on a fellow cab driver. He was also ordered to pay $115 to the victim.
Fellow taxi driver, 61-year-old Lam Choon Chai sustained first-degree superficial burns to the left ear, cheek, and neck. His hair and left eyebrow were also singed.
This road rage was a” vicious and extreme” case, as described by District Judge Kenneth Yap.
The incident happened took place on May 1, 2017 at around 8 PM. It started when Lam was waiting in line for passengers at a taxi stand in Vivo City and suddenly Ng cut into his lane. This almost caused Lam to slam into a wall.
After picking up passengers, the two drove towards the traffic light junction of Harbourfront Walk and Telok Blangah Road. When the lights turned red, Lam spotted Ng’s taxi next to his. He rolled the car windows down and hurled profanities at Ng.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace (DPP) Chua told the court that as a reaction, the accused alighted from his taxi, taking a can of insecticide from his taxi with him.
“The accused then stretched his hand into the victim’s taxi through the open front left passenger window, pointed the can of insecticide at the victim, before spraying the insecticide twice at the victim.
“The accused held the can of insecticide approximately 30cm away from the face of the victim when he sprayed the insecticide at the victim.”
Some insecticide entered Lam’s eyes, causing him pain and irritation. After spraying, Ng went back to his taxi and got a lighter. He sprayed the insecticide at Lam for the third time while placing the lit lighter in front of the can.
This ignited the insecticide stream and produced a flash fire for about three seconds.
Lam alarmed the police for help. An ambulance took him to the Singapore General Hospital and treated for the injuries he suffered.
According to DPP Chua, the use of insecticide is a “novel and creative” way of inflicting hurt, pointing out that it is a commonly available household item. Hence, she called for deterrence.
There was a degree of premeditation in Ng’s actions as he had used the lighter with the insecticide, DPP argued.
On the other hand, the defence stressed that his client was frustrated since losing his previous job as a manager and from undergoing a divorce.
Ng’s lawyer Mervyn Tan said, “His anger got the better of him.” He also asked the court for consideration of his client, who had suffered from a heart attack and had undergone surgery.
For the district judge, he emphasized, “We cannot have people taking actions in their own hands in the roads.”
“While the actual harm caused was ‘not high’, the potential for harm was great due to the risk of the taxi catching with fire,” he added.
Ng is out on $5,000 bail. He will begin serving his sentence on Feb. 19.