A Chinese-origin man was sentenced to three months of prison time for racially insulting and kicking an Indian-origin woman in the chest. The accused, identified as Wong, claimed that the woman had been sarcastic and aggressive with him and had hurled vulgar words at him.
The man identified as Wong Xing, 32, attacked Madam Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai, 57, near the Northvale Condominium in Choa Chu Kang housing estate on May 7, 2021.
Chinese Man Jailed For Assaulting Indian Woman
The district judge, Shaiffudin Saruwan, ordered the accused, Wong, to pay the woman SGD 13.20 as compensation and stressed that racial and religious hostility would have dire consequences in Singaporean society.
The judge delivered the sentence on Monday, stating that a "deterrent sentence was paramount in the case." He noted that Wong brazenly committed the offences and exhibited no signs of remorse for his actions.
The trial began in January and went on for nine days. Judge Shaiffudin convicted Wong in June of assault and abusing the woman’s racial feelings. During the trial, Wong denied using racial insults.
The prosecution requested a sentence between six and nine months of jail time, emphasising the significance of communal and racial harmony in a multi-racial country. The woman, Nita, testified on the first day of the trial that on May 7, 2021, she was walking to Choa Chu Kang Stadium, where she worked at a fast-food restaurant when she heard someone shouting. She turned and saw Wong and his fiancée, Caua Yun Han, whom she didn’t know. The Chinese couple told her to "mask up" as her mask was down.
Wearing a mask was mandatory during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, people participating in sports, including brisk walking, were excused.
Deputy public prosecutor Marcus Foo and Janathan Lee said that Nita had explained to the couple that she was walking briskly as she was exercising and swearing. The accused then verbally insulted her. The woman had tried to de-escalate the issue by saying, "God bless you."
However, the accused kicked her in the chest before he and his fiancée jogged off, according to a report by the Straits Times quoting the judgement referring to hearings from court proceedings.
Nita had also testified during the beginning of the trial in January and stated that she would cry if she ever returned to the site of the attack. Her voice cracked as she narrated the incident to the judge. She said that the incident affected her emotionally; she felt scared and sad. "Is it wrong to be India? I didn’t choose it. I wish this incident didn’t happen," she said to the judge.
She also testified that an eyewitness helped her get back on her feet after the attack and applied plaster to the wound on her left forearm.
Nita filed a police complaint the same evening. The prosecution noted that the eyewitness was unrelated to both parties, and she had testified that she saw the accused kicking Nita. Wong, on the other hand, claimed that Nita was sarcastic and aggressive and hurled vulgar abuses at him and his fiancée. He added that Nita even spat at him and her fiancée, to which he reacted by pushing her. He accepted that he used vulgar language to abuse her but denied using racial insults.
In Singapore, a person can be jailed for six months to four years and fined up to SGD 7,500 for racially attacking someone.
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