The family of a man with low IQ are appealing for witnesses to come forward, after an alleged assault at a coffee shop left the man with permanent brain damage.
The man’s niece, Facebook user Kelly Ru Yi Wee, revealed online that the incident occurred at Block 279 Seng Kang East Avenue, Compassvale Ancilla on 24 Jan, sometime during the late morning and early afternoon hours.
According to Kelly, her uncle Ah Peng had attended the first day grand opening of the coffee shop under a new owner. Ah Peng had been employed as a worker by the ex-owner of the coffee shop and is believed to have come to the grand opening to ask the new owner for a job.
Kelly revealed that her uncle was well-known in the area and is quite harmless: “My uncle also worked (for) a couple of months with the previous coffee shop owner at one of the stores and always hung around. Everyone knows he is harmless and in fact, very popular among the uncles and aunties.”
Shortly thereafter, Ah Peng’s mother received a call from a coffee shop helper who told her that Ah Peng was lying motionless on the ground. Kelly’s 78-year-old grandmother rushed to the coffee shop and found Ah Peng sitting against the wall in a corner, looking unwell.
Kelly’s grandmother began asking around about what had happened, but no one was willing to offer any leads. The coffee shop’s new owner then allegedly approached the elderly woman and demanded that she send Ah Peng to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) as he had been ‘annoying him every day’ for a job at the coffee shop.
The two began arguing before Kelly’s grandmother took her son home to rest. Ah Peng’s condition, however, worsened.
He began to vomit blood as blood also began trickling from his nose. Kelly’s grandmother brought her son to a clinic where a doctor told her that Ah Peng’s condition was serious. Ah Peng was warded at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where doctors found that he had suffered a huge blow at the back of his head and admitted him into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Ah Peng’s family thought that he had fallen backwards and hit his head on the ground, at this point, not expecting anything more sinister. Kelly lamented: “We didn’t even think that someone could hurt a vulnerable person like him. For the past three years at the coffee shop, he always hung out there every day.”
However, a few days after Ah Peng was admitted, the family began hearing whispers that something worse had led to Ah Peng’s condition. On 26 Jan, the family received three phone calls from neighbours and a shopowner nearby relaying that they heard rumours that Ah Peng had been assaulted.
An employee at the coffee shop also approached the family and revealed that he knows a few people who had been present during the incident but were scared to speak out. According to the employee, Ah Peng had been attacked, causing him to fall backwards.
Kelly revealed the serious state Ah Peng is in now:
“My Uncle who is mentally slow since the age of 9 (with Low IQ but fully harmless) was admitted at Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital into the intensive care unit (ICU). He suffered a permanent brain damage, with his skull cracked, and internal brain bleeding.
“The doctor said that it was a huge impact on the back of his brain that caused this. Even when he is discharged in the future, his life will be permanently changed.
“Be it mobility, lifestyle and the ability to speak, (all of these) would be affected. In the event that his brain injury worsens, which is possible, a surgery would be required. There is a 50 per cent chance of survival (but still living differently from then on) or being a vegetable for the rest of his life.”
No matter the outcome, Ah Peng would require help with daily chores, such as eating, moving around, bathing, and even going to the toilet according to Kelly. She says that this has added an additional burden upon her already tremendously stressed grandmother:
“Seeing her upset, not being able to eat or sleep, feeling giddy and losing her balance while walking sometimes, breaks my heart.
“Frankly, I hate to admit this but I am feeling so weak, upset and down now. I can’t imagine how much worse my grandmother is feeling that (now that) her son is in this state. The after-hospitalisation life is not going to be easy either.”
Kelly revealed that her family lodged a police report on 26 Jan. The family hopes for individuals with more information on what happened to come forward. Kelly added:
“No one deserves this. A low IQ person’s life is still a life and he does not deserve this at all. No one has any right to treat someone vulnerable like this.
“Nothing and nobody that caused this impact can undo this damage to him and my family, but we hope to at least learn the truth as to what really happened. We hope that people who are there who seen anything could step up as it really means a lot to us.”