Man on trial for allegedly kicking woman and insulting her race claims she swore, spat at him and fiancee
SINGAPORE — A man who is on trial for allegedly attacking and racially abusing a woman for not wearing a mask at Chua Chu Kang, claims that he only pushed her because she was behaving aggressively towards him and his fiancee and had spat at them .
- Wong Xing Fong has claimed trial to two charges after he was accused of physically hurting and verbally abusing Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai
- He allegedly insulted her race when he confronted her about not wearing her mask properly
- This was at a time when Covid-19 regulations mandated that people wear masks unless they were exercising
- He claimed that she got aggressive and spat at him and his fiancee during the encounter
SINGAPORE — A man who is on trial for allegedly attacking and verbally abusing a woman for not wearing a mask at Chua Chu Kang claimed that he pushed her because she was behaving aggressively towards him and his fiancee and had spat at them.
Wong Xing Fong, who is accused of carrying out the attack on the morning of May 7 in 2021, also asserted that Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai did not appear to be moving at a strenuous enough pace such that she needed to take off her mask to breathe properly.
This was the testimony given by the 32-year-old Singaporean on Friday (Jan 20) morning as he took the witness stand for the first time on the third day of his trial.
Wong, who is represented pro-bono by Mr Sim Bing Wen and Mr Pesdy Tay of Drew & Napier under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, is accused of uttering vulgarities with the deliberate intention of “wounding the racial feelings” of Mdm Hindocha.
He is also accused of voluntarily causing hurt by kicking Mdm Hindocha’s chest.
Wong denies the two charges, but does not dispute that “there was an encounter” with Mdm Hindocha, Mr Sim said.
‘SHE SPAT AT US’
Giving his account of what happened that day, Wong said that he and his fiancee, Ms Chua Yun Han, were jogging towards the Lot 1 mall after completing a morning workout at a gym in Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
As they approached Northvale Condominium, located along Choa Chu Kang Drive, Wong saw Mdm Hindocha “just casually walking at a very slow pace” towards them.
Though she was “quite some distance” away, the couple noticed that the woman “was not wearing her mask properly” — it was down to her chin.
At the time, Singapore’s Covid-19 regulations mandated that everyone had to keep their face masks on unless they were exercising.
Wong said that when the two parties were about three steps from each other, Ms Chua told Mdm Hindocha to pull up her mask.
“She responded to us in a very sarcastic manner (saying) she was exercising,” Wong said.
He also said that Mdm Hindocha made some hand gestures, as though to brush off the couple. She also seemed “aggressive” when she later told them to mind their own business after taking a few steps closer to them.
They felt “very scared” when she moved towards them, Wong said, because they were afraid of the risk of getting Covid-19 and infecting their respective parents.
Annoyed by this, Wong admitted that he said something along the lines of: “What the ****. You are being a social disturbance…”
He alleged that Mdm Hindocha responded with vulgarities of her own that were directed at his mother and sister, before she said “God bless you” and spat at the couple.
It was at this point that Wong pushed Mdm Hindocha to put a distance between them, he added, and this then caused her to fall backwards.
During Wong’s cross-examination, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Marcus Foo and Wong argued over whether Mdm Hindocha was indeed exercising or not.
Wong contended that if Mdm Hindocha was brisk walking as she testified earlier, the distance she covered was not substantial. Neither was she swinging her arms, as one would expect, he said.
Moreover, Wong said that she was not dressed for the part, since she had a bag by her side.
To this, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said: “I do exercise… (and I’ve) seen people in all manner of clothing and bags… in that respect, I disagree with you.”
DPP Foo added that what is strenuous activity for some could be considered light for others.
Wong later said that he and his fiancee were prepared to leave Mdm Hindocha alone after she told them to mind their own business, but DPP Foo told Wong that he had instead “acted aggressively” towards her.
“That’s because she spat at us,” Wong repeated.
DPP Foo countered that he could have just ignored it and walked on by.
In her testimony on Wednesday, Mdm Hindocha said that the alleged attack was unprovoked.
She also said that the impact of Wong’s alleged "flying kick" on her chest had caused her to fall on her back and left her bleeding on her left forearm and palm.
The trial continued on Friday afternoon with the prosecution cross-examining Wong. It will resume in early February.
If found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt, Wong can be jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$5,000, or both.
However, in cases where the offence is racially or religiously aggravated, the court may sentence the person to 1.5 times the amount of punishment that he or she would otherwise have been liable.