Singapore—On November 14, a man was given a S$4,000 fine in court for smashing a porcelain condiment bowl into the face of a fellow patron at popular hotpot chain Haidilao last January.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of causing hurt.

In addition to the fine, Jason Esaias Gao Weijie has already paid some S$8,000 in compensation to his victim, Eugene Lee Wei Liang.

The altercation between Messrs Gao and Lee occurred in the early morning hours of January 12 at the Haidilao outlet at Clarke Quay.

Around half-past three in the morning, Mr Lee was having a meal at Haidilao with some friends. He had gotten up from the table, still eating from his bowl of food, to line up at the condiments counter to help himself to some additional sauce.

When it was his turn to get some sauces, Mr Lee then put his bowl on the counter, and proceeded to fill a sauce bowl.

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Shauna Poon, the Deputy Public Prosecutor on the case told District Judge Toh Han Li that Mr Gao who had been behind Mr Lee in the line for sauces, found that “the victim’s act of leaving the bowl on the counter was unhygienic,” and was subsequently angered by it.

Mr Gao then told Mr Lee to take his bowl away from the counter.

Mr Lee agreed to this, and would do it when he was done getting the sauce he wanted, which offended Mr Gao further, and resulted in him picking a fight with Mr Lee.

As Mr Lee turned to leave the condiment counter, holding his food and sauce bowls in his hands, Mr Gao took hold of Mr Lee’s neck and proceeded to smash the sauce bowl into Mr Lee’s face, while pushing him down.

Mr Gao had to be pulled away by Haidilao’s other patrons, who broke up the altercation.

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Footage of Mr Gao’s actions were recorded at the restaurant’s CCTV cameras, which the court saw at the hearing of the case on November 14.

Police were also called to the scene by a friend of Mr Lee, who had told them, “A guy threw a bowl at my friend. Now he got a cut in between his eyes and bleeding.”

Mr Lee then sought medical attention at Changi General Hospital, due to a wound on the bridge of his nose that was 1.5 cm long. He was given six days of medical leave for his recovery.

The maximum penalty of voluntarily causing hurt is two years’ jail time, a S$5,000 fine, or both.

In Mr Gao’s defense, his lawyer, Raphael Louis claimed that the victim’s injury had not been extensive, Mr Gao paid compensation for his violent actions shortly after the incident, and that the amount of S$8,000 that he gave was higher than the S$2,400 in expenses that Mr Lee incurred for the treatment of his injury.

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DPP Poon mentioned that Mr Gao had past unrelated traffic and property-related offences, and had no objections to the high amount of his fine. -/TISG

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