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Reformative training for woman who struck taxi driver with pizza board after evading fare

SINGAPORE — She not only repeatedly evaded public transport fares over the years, but assaulted a taxi driver with a wooden pizza board last year after refusing to pay for the ride.

  • The woman committed a string of offences from ages 16 to 19
  • Last year, she assaulted a taxi driver with a wooden pizza board after evading the fare
  • She became more upset when he managed to take a photo of her
  • Reports stated that she showed a lack of remorse and receptiveness to parental control

 

SINGAPORE — She not only repeatedly evaded public transport fares over the years, but assaulted a taxi driver with a wooden pizza board last year after refusing to pay for the ride. 

The 20-year-old woman, who cannot be named as she first broke the law when she was 16, was given at least a year of reformative training on Wednesday (March 3).

The Children and Young Persons Act prohibits the identification of accused persons who committed crimes while under the age of 18.

Reformative training, a more severe punishment compared with probation, is a regimented rehabilitation programme for offenders under 21 who commit relatively serious crimes.

The woman pleaded guilty earlier this year to 21 charges, including committing a rash act, causing hurt, and failing to wear a face mask in relation to the assault on the taxi driver. 

She also admitted to multiple fare evasion charges while taking taxis and the MRT.

Sixteen other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

ANGRY THAT CABBIE TRIED TO TAKE PHOTO

The court earlier heard that on the morning of July 15 last year, she hailed Mr Chua Sio Ton’s taxi in Ang Mo Kio town.

She was not wearing a face mask, which is mandated by law to stem the spread of Covid-19.

She told Mr Chua to take her to Prinsep Street in Dhoby Ghaut. When they got there, he asked her to pay the S$14.24 fare, but she left without doing so.

He stopped his taxi, alighted and went after her to try to take a photograph of her with his mobile phone.

While outside a restaurant along Prinsep Street, she noticed Mr Chua attempting to take the photo. She swung her arm at him, but he blocked the blow with his forearm.

He continued trailing her and she retaliated by picking up a pizza board left on a ledge outside another shop. She struck him and he again deflected the blows with his forearm.

She finally flung the board at Mr Chua and walked away. By this time, he had taken the photo.

Unhappy about this, she pursued him back to his taxi, threatening to throw an electronic payment device in his cab at him unless he deleted the photo.

He called the police and she hurled the machine at him before leaving for good.

Mr Chua went to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for treatment and was given three days of outpatient medical leave.

This was not the first time she broke the law. 

In 2017, she stole and sold her schoolmate’s mobile phone. The next year, she stole several items from various shops. 

Between July 2019 and July last year, she evaded at least 13 public transport fares from taxi and MRT rides, ranging from about S$14 to S$41.

LACK OF REMORSE

While the court had called for a report to assess if she could undergo a mandatory treatment order, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Pei Wei said that the woman’s adjustment disorder — a short-term stress-related condition — “has since resolved itself”. She did not give more details.

A mandatory treatment order is a community sentencing option offered to offenders suffering from mental conditions that contributed to an offence. Those found suitable must attend sessions with a court-appointed psychiatrist.

The woman’s probation and reformative training reports stated that she showed a lack of remorse and receptiveness to parental control.

While in her father’s care, she breached a court-imposed curfew on several occasions and failed to heed his advice to stop drinking, DPP Tan said. The woman’s father discharged himself as her bailor for that reason.

The woman’s lawyer Yeo Ying Hao asked for probation, saying his client would seek treatment at the Institute of Mental Health.

Mr Yeo also said that her father had never given up on her and had visited her while she was in remand. He was also prepared to sign a bond to ensure her good behaviour during the probation period.

Nevertheless, District Judge May Mesenas said that a more structured environment under reformative training would be suitable for the woman.

Related topics

crime court reformative training assault taxi driver

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