Entertainment lawyer Samuel Seow Theng Beng pleaded guilty to using criminal force and hurting two of his employees in court on Monday (27 July). The charges against the 47-year-old, who owns Samuel Seow Law Corporation, Samuel Seow Corporate and Beam Artistes, arose from an incident that occurred in his law firm in 2018.
The incident went viral on social media in 2019, after surveillance camera footage showing the abuse was leaked online. The leaked videos, which were uploaded online anonymously, showed Seow hitting and pushing employees at his South Bridge Road office.
The court heard that 21-year-old Rachel Kang Pei Shan, who worked for Seow’s company Beam Artistes as an artiste and events executive, was about to leave the office on 17 Apr 2018 to prepare for a company event when she clashed with Seow.
Seow reprimanded Ms Kang and claimed that she had not completed her work and was leaving the office without providing him with a proper account of her work. Angry, Seow forcefully poked Ms Kang’s forehead twice with his finger and pushed a file she was holding, causing her to stagger backwards.
Seow’s niece, Brenda Kong Shin Ying, witnessed the incident. Shortly after, Seow asked where his firm’s associate director Shaun was and Ms Kong did not respond to him despite hearing the question. Instead, she walked over to the photocopy machine and turned on a voice-recording mode on her phone given what had happened with Ms Kang.
Seow asked Ms Kong where Shaun was and she responded that he had a meeting earlier but she was not sure where he went afterwards. Upset, Seow asked his niece why she did not reply earlier and she said that she was not sure where Shaun was after his meeting.
Dissatisfied, Seow walked towards Ms Kong while asking her why she had not replied to him repeatedly as he came close to her face. Afraid that her uncle might grow violent, Ms Kong raised her arm across her chest to protect herself but accidentally touched his chest.
Angered, Seow charged towards her shouting “Brenda!” and saying over and over again “you beat me, you beat me, you dare to beat me”. He grabbed his niece by her arm and pushed her back before he was restrained by another employee.
He then broke free of his employee’s hold and slapped Ms Kong several times on her cheeks and her head. Ms Kong hit back and struck Seow once on his face.
Other employees rushed out of their offices and kept pleading with Seow to calm down but he kept confronting Ms Kong and repeatedly poked her with his hand, before charging towards her once again and pushing her against a table, causing her to fall down.
Seow’s employees intervened, restraining and separating him from Ms Kong, but he kept yelling at her demanding to know why she had not replied to his first question. When his niece said that Seow was “destroying” her, he charged at her for a third time but was pulled away by female employee Serene Tan.
Seow turned towards Ms Tan and shouted “you stop it” as he hit her on her arm. He broke free and continued lashing out at Ms Kong but she eventually managed to leave the premises. The incident was recorded on CCTV cameras and an audio recording of the attack was captured on Ms Kong’s phone.
Although Seow initially claimed that the dispute was a family matter and that he acted as an uncle and not as his niece’s employer, when the incident came to light in May 2018, he has now pleaded guilty to one charge each of voluntarily causing hurt and using criminal force.
Another charge of using criminal force and a fourth charge under the Protection from Harassment Act will be taken into consideration for sentencing. Seow can be jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt and can be jailed for up to three months and/or fined up to $1,500 for using criminal force.
A pre-trial conference is scheduled to take place next month. A Newton inquiry has also been set up to determine whether Seow has a mental condition.
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