Taxi driver falls and suffers spinal fractures while trying to chase fare evader who punched him and fled

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A taxi driver suffered spinal fractures and a swollen eye after he fell while trying to chase a fare evader who fled after punching the driver. The driver is still in the hospital, even though the incident occurred over a month ago, and is appealing for eyewitnesses to come forward.

The incident occurred around 2am on 24 Feb, outside a multi-storey carpark at 163A Gangsa Road. The taxi driver, 61-year-old Mr Chen Jianhua told the Chinese daily that the assailant looked to be in his 30s and that he boarded the cab along Orchard Road that day. Adding that the man did not look drunk at all, Mr Chen recalled:

“First, he first wanted me to bring him to Petir Road in Bukit Panjang. After I reached the destination, he suddenly told me that he wanted to go to the Kranji Racecourse. However, after I arrived at the racecourse, he once again told me that he wanted to go back to Bukit Panjang.”

Despite the passenger’s demands, Mr Chen said that he did not express any unhappiness with his customer. As Mr Chen was turning into the carpark at Gangsa Road, he asked the passenger where he would like to alight, noting that the fare had crossed $30. At this point, the passenger suddenly shouted “Here! Here!”. Mr Chen shared:

“I stopped the car, and he immediately got down and ran. I didn’t just want to let the matter go, so I gave chase. 

“I took out my phone to call the police, but the man dashed behind me, tapped my shoulder and then punched me in the right eye.”

The man again fled and Mr Chen gave chase for about 12 minutes before he suddenly tripped and injured his spine:

“I was too weak to get up. I felt giddy and short of breath. I gave up chasing after him and called the police for help. The police came down, took my statement and helped me to call for an ambulance.”

The fare evader’s punch caused Mr Chen’s right eye to be swollen shut. His fall also caused him to suffer spinal fractures and inflammation from the fall. Mr Chen recounted that his doctors informed him that he could have been paralysed if he had delayed seeking medical treatment.

Mr Chen is now appealing for eyewitnesses to come forward so his assailant could be brought to justice. The Singapore Police Force confirmed that they have classified the incident as a case of voluntarily causing hurt and that investigations are ongoing.