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Defence lawyer says 32-year-old man denies kicking woman, hurling racial slurs as trial over alleged Chua Chu Kang incident begins

SINGAPORE — About 20 months after a man allegedly kicked her in the chest and used racial slurs on her, Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai said that she remains traumatised by the memory of the alleged incident in Chua Chu Kang.

Wong Xing Fong at the State Courts on Jan 18, 2023.

Wong Xing Fong at the State Courts on Jan 18, 2023.

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  • Wong Xing Fong has claimed trial to two charges over hurling racial slurs at Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai and kicking her in the chest
  • These alleged offences took place while Mdm Hindocha was on her way to work on May 7, 2021
  • Mdm Hindocha claims she was brisk walking to work with her mask down when Wong told her to put it back up
  • She claims the alleged offences happened after she indicated to him that she was exercising and perspiring  
  • Wong's lawyer has stated that his client denies both kicking Mdm Hindocha and hurling racial slurs

SINGAPORE — About 20 months after a man allegedly kicked her in the chest and used racial slurs on her, Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai said that she remains traumatised by the memory of the alleged incident in Chua Chu Kang.

The 57-year-old Singaporean was giving evidence in a district court on Wednesday (Jan 18), the first day of the trial of Wong Xing Fong, now aged 32, who is accused of carrying out the attack on her on May 7, 2021.

During a trial that was delayed briefly because of Mdm Hindocha's emotional state, she also said that the alleged incident, which went viral on social media, had affected the way she views herself.

She said that before the incident, she was known simply as "teacher Nita" or an employee of fast-food chain KFC. Now she felt that she had become the “f***ing Indian”.

This was a reference to the insult that Wong had allegedly hurled at her while she was on the way to work at a KFC outlet at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on the morning of the alleged incident.

Wong has denied the allegations and has claimed trial to the two charges he faces. Wong is represented, pro-bono, by Mr Sim Bing Wen and Mr Pesdy Tay of Drew & Napier under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. 

Court documents showed that Wong is accused of uttering the words: “F***ing Indian, f*** you” 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 in an attack aggravated by the racial element.

Wong Xing Fong is seen running back into the State Courts apparently in response to spotting TODAY's photographer taking his photo, on Jan 18, 2023.

When the incident was first reported by local media, it drew widespread condemnation, including from political leaders such as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

In a Facebook post on May 10 that year, Mr Lee said that he was both “very disappointed” and “seriously concerned” that an (allegedly) racist attack could happen in Singapore, while Mr Shanmugam described the alleged attack as “unacceptable” on his own Facebook post that same day.

On Wednesday, Mdm Hindocha was called up as the prosecution’s first witness, but before she could give her account of the events, she broke down when she walked into the courtroom.

It was not clear if she cried due to seeing her alleged aggressor. District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan stood the case down temporarily to allow time for Mdm Hindocha to compose herself, and for a screen to be set up within the courtroom that shielded her from view.

WHAT ALLEGEDLY HAPPENED

The trial resumed about half an hour later with Mdm Hindocha taking the stand.

She said that she was brisk-walking on her way to work when the incident took place.

Mdm Hindocha also said that she typically brisk-walks to work because she does not have the time to do any other form of exercise before work, and that was why she pulled down her face mask to her chin because she needed to breathe more freely.

At the time, Singapore’s Covid-19 regulations mandated that everyone had to keep their face masks on, unless they were exercising.

As she was approaching a bus stop beside the Northvale Condominium located along Choa Chu Kang Drive, Mdm Hindocha said that she heard someone shouting at her from behind.

When she turned around, she claimed that she saw “a couple” — Wong and an unnamed woman — gesturing at her and telling her to pull up her mask.

Mdm Hindocha said that she gestured back to indicate that she was exercising and perspiring.

She then alleged that Wong walked towards her and used vulgarities with a racial slur.

“I don’t like to fight, sir, so I said, ‘God bless you’,” Mdm Hindocha said. She then said that Wong responded to this by running towards her before giving her a ”flying kick” in the chest.

The impact, she added, caused her to fall on her back and left her bleeding on her left forearm and palm.

She alleged that Wong and his female companion then “jogged” away as though nothing had happened.

“I was crying very loudly, sir. I was very scared. Till today, (if) you bring me (to) that road I will cry… I was very scared,” she said.

I was crying very loudly, sir. I was very scared. Till today, (if) you bring me (to) that road I will cry… I was very scared.
Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai, alleged victim of a racial attack

A woman at the bus stop helped her up and gave her a first-aid plaster for her injuries.

Mdm Hindocha said that it did not cross her mind to get the bystander’s contact number.

She related what had happened to both her husband and manager at work, and reported the incident to the police only later that evening after she had finished her second job as an English tutor at a tuition centre.

She had her injuries examined by a doctor at a polyclinic on May 10.

When asked by DPP Foo how the incident had affected her, Mdm Hindocha said that she felt both scared and sad.

“Is it wrong to be Indian? I didn’t choose to be Indian, sir. God made me Indian,” she said.

‘I’M A LAYPERSON’

During cross-examination, Mr Sim sought to poke holes in Mdm Hindocha’s account.

This included questions over where exactly along Choa Chu Kang Drive the alleged attack took place, asserting that her account had not been consistent.

Mr Sim suggested that this showed that Mdm Hindocha’s recollection of events was “not entirely accurate”.

Mdm Hindocha eventually said that while she did not lie, she agreed her initial report to the police was not detailed because she was not optimistic that Wong would be caught, and she only wanted to inform the police that she was hurt.

“I’m a layman. I described it (the event) in my way,” she said.

Mr Sim also told Mdm Hindocha that it was his client’s position that she was not exercising and had no reason to pull down her mask.

He added that Wong had not used the vulgarities on her and had also not kicked her in the chest.

Wong also claimed that Mdm Hindocha had spat at him and told him in a sarcastic tone that she was brisk-walking and to mind his own business.

Mdm Hindocha disagreed with all of these statements.

During re-examination by DPP Foo, Mdm Hindocha said that while she had difficulties remembering the precise location where the attack happened, she clearly remembers Wong kicking her.

“(When he ran towards me) his face looked very fierce… (and it) registered in my mind. I am not a painter, but if I could paint, I would paint you how he looked,” she added.

On Wednesday afternoon, the second witness was a doctor who attended to Mdm Hindocha. The case will continue on Thursday and Friday before adjourning until early February.

Anyone found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt 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 to which he or she would otherwise have been liable for that offence.

As for those found guilty of deliberately intending to wound the religious or racial feelings of any person, they can be jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

Related topics

crime court verbal abuse assault

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