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Jail for retiree and his son who beat up 13-year-old boy over football match in public area

SINGAPORE — A 62-year-old retiree and his 31-year-old son were jailed for three weeks each for beating up and choking a young boy over an argument about football being played at a multipurpose hall, a court heard on Monday (April 18).

Jail for retiree and his son who beat up 13-year-old boy over football match in public area
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  • Retiree Ong Eng Seng, 62, got into an argument with a group of boys playing football when the ball rolled close to him
  • The retiree then went home to get backup from his son, 31, and they both beat up a 13-year-old boy from the group
  • The Ongs' lawyer said that he scolded the group out of a sense of "social consciousness" as football was not allowed in the multipurpose hall
  • But prosecutors called it an antisocial act, arguing that both were grown men who ganged up on a young boy

SINGAPORE — A 62-year-old retiree and his 31-year-old son were jailed for three weeks each for beating up and choking a young boy over an argument about football being played at a multipurpose hall, a court heard on Monday (April 18).

The duo had choked the boy, who was 13 at the time, and slammed his head to the ground, causing multiple bruises throughout his body. 

The retiree, Ong Eng Seng, and his son Bernard Ong Wei Feng both pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge each of voluntarily causing hurt with common intention. 

The court heard that the incident happened on Dec 22, 2019 at the multipurpose hall at Block 6, Lorong 7 Toa Payoh, where the boy and three of his friends were playing football.

As the elder Ong was walking through the hall, the ball came close to him, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Andre Chong said.

Ong then confronted the group of friends and hurled various vulgarities at them, prompting the group to also respond with vulgarities.

The retiree told the group that he would be back and headed home to seek the help of his son. 

Court documents said the father and son pair later returned to the hall, and saw the group sitting on the floor. 

Bernard Ong pulled the 13-year-old boy to his feet and shouted at him: “Eh you made fun of my dad uh. You think it’s funny?”

Holding the boy by his neck, the younger Ong then "slammed" the victim to the floor, DPP Chong said. The boy's head also hit the floor as a result.

Said DPP Chong: “While the victim was lying on his back on the floor, Bernard punched the victim once on his right cheek, and pressed him down against the floor, before lifting him to his feet.”

After that, the retiree joined in the attack. He choked the boy and slapped him about five times, before pushing the boy towards a nearby stone bench, the court heard.

The Ongs left after the boy sat down.

The identity of the boy, who was a student, was not revealed in court documents. It was not stated if the boy’s friends came to his defence when he was being assaulted.

A police report was made later that day when the boy’s grandmother saw his injuries and took him to the Kim Keat Neighbourhood Police Post.

The boy was taken to the Children’s Emergency department of KK Women's and Children's Hospital at night.

A medical report stated that the boy suffered a 14cm bruise on his neck and several other bruises on his face, shoulder, back and forearm.

The boy was discharged under the care of his aunt and asked to avoid physical activity for two weeks.

AN 'ANTISOCIAL' ACT: DPP

The Ongs’ lawyer Mervyn Tan told the court on Monday during mitigation that the senior Ong had rebuked the group of young boys for playing in the multipurpose hall, which was not a permitted area for football.

Mr Tan said that the elder Ong had scolded the boys out of a sense of “social consciousness”.

But the lawyer added that the situation went awry when the boys mocked him, aggravating the retiree. His son also felt like the young boy had taken advantage of his elderly father. 

In response, DPP Chong argued instead that the acts were “antisocial”, given that it involved “two grown men ganging up” on a young boy.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed with the DPP and told the Ongs that they should feel fortunate that the injuries were minor, otherwise they would probably be facing more jail time.

The judge also ordered them to compensate S$60 each to the boy’s grandmother.

For voluntarily causing hurt, they could each have been jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$5,000, or both.

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