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Taxi driver tells court he was provoked into assaulting passenger and fighting with man at petrol kiosk

SINGAPORE — A taxi driver charged with beating up two different people in separate incidents repeatedly told a district court on Wednesday (Jan 15) that both men provoked him into doing it.

Muhammad Taufiq Md Said (right) told the court that he would not have fought with a man at a petrol station if the man had allowed him to pass when they walked by each other.

Muhammad Taufiq Md Said (right) told the court that he would not have fought with a man at a petrol station if the man had allowed him to pass when they walked by each other.

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SINGAPORE — A taxi driver charged with beating up two different people in separate incidents repeatedly told a district court on Wednesday (Jan 15) that both men provoked him into doing it.

In one case, Muhammad Taufiq Md Said claimed that his passenger was drunk, shouted vulgarities at him and stood in front of the taxi.

He also claimed that another man, a stranger at an Esso petrol station, had failed to give way to him and acted aggressively towards him.

Taufiq, 41, was set to plead guilty to his purported offences, but District Judge Jasvender Kaur called for a pre-trial conference to be held next month in light of his allegations.

His plea of guilt had already been rejected in December last year following similar assertions.

Court documents stated that the three charges he faces are:

  • Punching his passenger Wong Chee Weng in the face at least four times and kicking him in the head, causing an eye socket fracture. The fracas took place on May 24, 2017 at about 2.15am along Kitchener Road near Little India.

  • Stealing a mobile phone belonging to Mr Wong’s girlfriend.

  • Fighting with Mr Chong Fu Er two months later on July 17, at an Esso petrol station in Chua Chu Kang. It is unclear exactly where at the petrol station this happened.

When Wednesday’s hearing began, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Navin Naidu said the prosecution did not accept that Mr Wong used vulgar words on Taufiq, but acknowledged that Mr Wong “did display some aggression” as seen in a video of the incident.

As for the petrol station incident, DPP Navin said that Mr Chong did not show “outright aggression” and was just standing in Taufiq’s way while using his mobile phone.

“Which is not true, Your Honour,” Taufiq interjected from the dock, before the judge told him to let the prosecutor continue.

DPP Navin then said that they had verified both events and would not be amending the statement of facts.

Responding to District Judge Kaur’s questions, Taufiq alleged that after Mr Wong cursed him in the taxi, he told Mr Wong that he could hail another taxi if he was not satisfied.

As for Mr Chong, Taufiq said that he would not have fought with the man at the petrol station if Mr Chong had allowed him to pass. 

“He stepped in the middle. I said, ‘Hello, excuse me, I want to walk.’ He was smaller and I’m big-sized. He (gestured at me) to go another way which was even (narrower), then he became aggressive and wanted to punch me, then yes, I did slap him first,” Taufiq added.

He also claimed that other people there “attacked” him and the prosecutor had to explain that two to three others had intervened to try to stop the fight.

DPP Navin expressed concerns that Taufiq could be asserting his right to private defence — a legal defence if an accused person hurts someone else in order to defend himself.

“The accused mentioned that he reacted first to protect himself. That’s the most significant thing he’s said today,” the prosecutor said.

Taufiq’s lawyer Henry Lim told the court that he has admitted to beating up Mr Chong “but this morning, he came up with this reason”. District Judge Kaur instructed the lawyer to watch video footage of the incident and adjourned the matter. 

Taufiq remains out on bail of S$5,000.

If convicted of causing hurt to Mr Wong, he could be jailed up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.

If convicted of affray, or fighting in a public place, he could be jailed up to a year, fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Related topics

court assault fight taxi driver passenger petrol kiosk

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