Man gets jail after hitting elderly man’s head with metal tongs in fight; victim died 9


SINGAPORE: During a dispute with an elderly man at a hawker centre, Ang Ah Lak picked up a pair of metal tongs to hit the man’s head before shoving him to the ground where he lay unconscious and bleeding.

The 69-year-old man eventually died of head injuries he sustained in the fall as well as a poor heart condition.

The court heard that Ang, 56, was also involved in several prior incidents where he shouted abusive words at public servants.

Ang was sentenced to 25 months and 12 weeks’ jail on Tuesday (Jan 2) after he pleaded guilty to six charges in December 2023.

These included three charges under the Protection from Harassment Act, one charge for being a public nuisance, one charge of failing to report for bail, and one charge of voluntarily causing hurt.

PHYSICAL ALTERCATION AT HAWKER CENTRE

Investigations revealed that on Jul 12, 2022, Ang had a verbal dispute with the elderly man, whose name was redacted from court documents.

The argument, at a hawker centre in Bedok South Road, escalated into a physical altercation.

The court heard that around the time, Ang was offering his prayers at an altar at the hawker centre when he noticed that an area near the altar that was dirty.

He approached Mr Mondal Dipongkar, a cleaner at the hawker centre, to clean the area.

Mr Mondal told Ang that he would clean the area the next day but Ang insisted that he did it immediately.

Mr Mondal then gave Ang a contact number so that Ang could speak directly with his boss.

An elderly man who was having alcoholic drinks with his friends noticed Ang speaking to Mr Mondal.

He approached Ang and spoke to him for a while before Ang called Mr Mondal’s boss.

It was after the call that Ang picked up a pair of metal tongs that were hanging near the altar to confront the elderly man.

The pair then had a verbal dispute.

At one point, the elderly man walked away but was followed after by Ang and the two got into a heated argument where they both hurled vulgarities at each other.

The argument was heard by a witness at the hawker centre who claimed that the dispute related to a certain cleaner and the washing of the floor, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Zhi Jie.

Ang then picked up a piece of yellow signage from the floor and threw it at the elderly man, though it missed. The elderly man later picked it up to use as a weapon.

During the scuffle, Ang struck the elderly man’s forehead with the tongs and shoved him, causing the 69-year-old man to fall backwards onto the ground where he became unconscious.

A witness who was at the scene saw blood on the back of the elderly man’s head.

While they waited for the police and paramedics to arrive, Ang checked on the elderly man and also dragged him to a nearby pillar to rest.

The elderly man was later taken to Changi General Hospital where he was found to have suffered a skull fracture and bleeding inside the skull.

His condition suddenly deteriorated on Jul 21 and he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy report prepared by Dr George Paul from the Health Sciences Authority said the elderly man had suddenly died from a coronary artery disease as a result of his pre-existing poor status of his heart, and extensive head injuries.

CAUSING PUBLIC ANNOYANCE AND USING ABUSIVE WORDS

The court also heard several other incidents Ang was involved with prior to the fatal encounter with the elderly man.

On May 29, 2022, Ang shouted at a bus captain after he was told to pay the full bus fare.

Despite the bus captain trying to calm Ang down, Ang headed up to the upper deck of the bus where he shouted at other passengers.

Around a week later, Ang once again refused to pay his bus fare and had to be escorted off the bus.

While this was happening, he started to hurl vulgarities at an SBS Transit supervisor and a security officer in Hokkien.

Investigations revealed that Ang also used abusive words on two other public servants when he refused to put on his mask on a bus, and on another occasion when he was escorted out of Changi General Hospital after causing a nuisance.

ACCUSED IS A REPEAT OFFENDER

Seeking a sentence ranging from 22 months and 12 weeks’ jail to 24 months and 14 weeks’ jail, Mr Tay argued that it should not be forgotten that Ang was not a first-time offender and had past violent convictions which were similar.

There was a clear opportunity for Ang to disengage from the entire conflict when the deceased had moved away, but Ang’s response was to further confront him, said Mr Tay.

While Ang was assessed by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to be suffering from schizophrenia, it was not a contributory link to his commission of the offence.

For voluntarily causing hurt, if the hurt which he intends to cause is not grievous, but the hurt which he actually causes is grievous, Ang could have been jailed for up to five years or fined up to S$10,000 (US$7,500), or both.

For failing to report for bail, he could also have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

For each charge of using abusive words on public servants under the Protection from Harassment Act, Ang could also have been jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

For causing a public nuisance, he could also have been jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$2,000, or both.

This article was originally published in TODAY.



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