Man jailed 16 weeks, fined $1,000 for punching bus captain after being told to wear mask

Wan Ting Koh
·3-min read
(PHOTO: SBS Transit/Facebook)
(PHOTO: SBS Transit/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — A man who hit a bus captain after being told to wear a mask was jailed for 16 weeks and fined $1,000 on Wednesday (16 December).

Ja’afally Abdul Rahim, 53, pleaded guilty to one count each of causing hurt and failing to wear a mask. He was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal on a charge of possessing an offensive weapon.

A separate charge of disturbing the public peace by fighting with another person in an unrelated incident in October last year was taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Shoved, punched, ranted at bus captain

On 15 September at about 2.45pm, the victim, bus captain Low Kok Weng, 39, was driving SBS bus service No. 21 along Pasir Ris Drive 1, when Ja’afally boarded at a bus stop without wearing a mask.

Low told Ja’afally to wear a mask as the latter was moving to the back of the bus. Unhappy, Ja’afally shouted at Low, but the bus captain did not understand what he was saying. Agitated, Ja’afally confronted Low at the front of the bus.

Despite Low’s attempt to calm him down, Ja’afally refused to be calm. Closed-circuit television within the bus showed that this took place at around 2.47pm.

As Low had earlier noticed that Ja’afally appeared to have a knife in the back of his pants, Low decided to keep quiet and move off, as Ja’afally ranted and pointed aggressively at him.

Two bus stops later, Low felt that he was unable to continue driving due to the aggression. After Ja’afally pushed his shoulders a few times, Low opened the bus doors for passengers to alight as he was unable to move off.

Ja’afally then plucked the sunglasses from Low’s face and threw them on the floor. Low picked them up, but Ja’afally shoved his shoulder and face, as though he wanted to rip off Low’s face mask.

At around 2.58pm, Ja’afally grabbed Low’s vest near to his neck and continued behaving aggressively. Low managed to resist him and pull away Ja’afally’s hand. However Ja’afally then punched his face and back of his head multiple times, until he was pulled away by members of the public.

He was then removed from the bus and restrained until police officers arrived.

3-day medical leave for pain, head injury

Low was conveyed by ambulance to Changi General Hospital where he was discharged with medicines for pain and head injury. He was given medical leave for three days, and his bills amounted to $126.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Ja’afally could have been jailed up to three years, or fined up to $5,000, or both. For not wearing a mask, he could have been jailed up to six months, fined up to $10,000, or both.

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