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Ex-cleaner, 70, jailed 2 weeks for spitting at supervisor; asks judge not to bring up the past when told of previous convictions

SINGAPORE — Although he had been instructed by his work supervisor to sanitise specific touchpoints at the Tuas Link MRT Station every two hours, a 70-year-old cleaner refused to comply. He also spat at her after he got into an argument with her.

A file photo of Tuas Link MRT Station. Kang Poh Kim refused to clean surfaces at the station when told by his supervisor.

A file photo of Tuas Link MRT Station. Kang Poh Kim refused to clean surfaces at the station when told by his supervisor.

SINGAPORE — Although he had been instructed by his work supervisor to sanitise specific touchpoints at the Tuas Link MRT Station every two hours, a 70-year-old cleaner refused to comply. He also spat at her after he got into an argument with her.

For that, Kang Poh Kim was jailed for two weeks after he pleaded guilty to one charge of using criminal force on his supervisor, Ms Norna Ningseh Mohd Rais, 50.

Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Lydia Goh told the court that the altercation happened on July 30 this year after Kang received the instructions from Ms Norna.

When Kang refused to follow the instructions and even raised his voice at her, Ms Norna took it upon herself to carry out his duties.

However, she also contacted the management to inform them of Kang’s “defiance”, since it was not the first time that he had refused to follow instructions, APP Goh said.

In response, an area supervisor arrived at the station to inform Kang to change out of his work attire, because he was being transferred to another location.

Upset by this turn of events, Kang confronted Ms Norna when he saw her and spat at her face at some point before he was pulled away by the area supervisor.

Kang no longer works for the cleaning company and is now unemployed.

When asked by Senior District Judge Bala Reddy whether he had anything to say in mitigation, Kang claimed that he was often bullied by Ms Norna, and that she was asking him to cover for someone else who was absent that day.

“That doesn’t give you a licence to spit at her,” the judge said, adding that with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, such an act was even more serious.

The judge also noted that Kang had been convicted in the past for other anger-related offences.

In 2013, Kang was fined S$400 for using abusive and threatening language, and in 2015, he was fined S$2,000 for fighting in a public place and also using abusive and threatening language.

On hearing this, Kang said: “Sir, can I ask a question? Why do you bring up the past? It is already over.”

The judge explained that first-time offenders typically get a lower sentence, but it gets higher each time they appear in court, as was the case with Kang who tried to plead for a lower sentence.

District Judge Reddy then told Kang that he needed to learn to control his anger.

“You need to be more careful,” the judge said.

“I am human, lah, sir…This is human nature,” Kang replied.

For using criminal force on his site supervisor by spitting at her, Kang could have been jailed up to three months or fined up to S$1,500, or both.

Related topics

court crime spit cleaning MRT station anger

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