SINGAPORE — He was asked to leave a coffeeshop and reacted by flipping chairs and tables around him.
Tan Hock Soon then walked onto Geylang Road, removed and flung his shirt onto the road before lying belly-up in the middle of the busy road, causing traffic congestion.
Later that night, Tan was conveyed to the hospital and discharged. He returned to the coffeeshop to continue creating a ruckus.
On Tuesday (5 January), Tan, 63, was fined $4,300 after he pleaded guilty to one count each of being a public nuisance at Fu Xing Ji coffeeshop near Lorong 16 Geylang, and of committing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others. As Tan could not pay the fine, he will serve 15 days’ jail instead.
Another count of committing a public nuisance at the same coffeeshop after being discharged from the hospital was taken into consideration for sentencing.
A video of the incident was captured by a bystander’s mobile phone and played in court, showing how Tan had flung his shirt onto the ground before wandering across the road with his hands outstretched, attracting honks from vehicles who had to drive around him.
Tan, a Singaporean, drank beer at Fu Xing Ji on 31 March last year with two other friends from 6pm to 10pm. At about 10pm, Tan got up to leave with a friend, but the latter stopped to chat with another man, Loh Song Fatt.
After waiting for a while, Tan got impatient and began uttering vulgarities at Loh, who ignored him. One of the coffeeshop owners, a woman known as Shen Shuxia came to Loh’s defence and asked Tan to leave the coffeeshop.
Unhappy, Tan went on a rampage in the coffeeshop, kicking and flipping chairs and tables. Other patrons who were at the scene left without paying.
Shen asked Tan to stop his actions and the man tried to hit her. Shen’s husband, who co-owned the coffeeshop, grabbed Tan’s hands to stop him. Tan fell as his hands were released.
Tan then picked himself up and walked onto Geylang Road where he removed his shirt and paced between the busy lanes. He shouted at motorists and continued arguing with bystanders at the side of the road. Tan then lay supine somewhere opposite a T-junction between Geylang Road and Lorong 19 Geylang, forcing vehicles to avoid him.
The police and an ambulance were called to the coffeeshop and Tan was later conveyed to the hospital due to the injuries he had sustained.
After Tan was treated and discharged, he returned to the coffeeshop and again flipped and kicked its furniture. Loh called the police this time.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joseph Gwee sought the fine amount that was imposed on Tan, stating that Tan had created a scene in a public place with a high flow of traffic, forcing road users to take evasive action. He also posed a danger to road users, who expressed their annoyance by honking at him.
Tan, who was unrepresented, asked for leniency in his mitigation. District Judge Soh Tze Bian told Tan that he had done “a very rash act”.
For committing a public nuisance, Tan could have been fined up to $2,000. While for committing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others, he could have been jailed up to six months, or fined a maximum $2,500, or both.
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