By Lediati Tan
A CABBY thought he was being civic-minded by stopping a man from damaging public property.
Minutes later, he was allegedly punched in the face by the man's friend.
The incident took place late on 24 Oct at an open-air carpark in Changi Village.
Taxi driver Soh Teck Seng, 58, told The New Paper that he and his son were walking back to his taxi at 11.15pm, after taking a break at a coffee shop.
At the carpark, Mr Soh claimed he saw a man in his 30s leaning against a 3m-tall lamp post and rocking back and forth against it with his back.
"I stopped and looked at him. He turned around and started shaking the lamp post with both hands," said Mr Soh.
"I thought that if I didn't stop him, the lamp post would collapse and hit him or other people or cars. Or he might be electrocuted."
He claimed he told the man politely to stop shaking the lamp post, and he did.
He said the man was accompanied by three others - one man and two women.
Mr Soh then got into his taxi with his son and drove out of the carpark.
He claimed that as they passed the group, the man's friend made a rude sign at them and gestured at them to come out of the car. Mr Soh said: "I heard my son open the door, so I stopped the car and followed him but I reached the group first.
"Before I could open my mouth to say anything, he delivered a solid punch and I fell on the ground. My son rushed to protect me and to help me up."
A scuffle ensued between the man and his son. Mr Soh said: "I was shaking but I rose quickly and stood between my assailant and my son. He was still very aggressive and kept on coming towards us.
"I also heard one of the women threatening me. She said: "We know how to look for you, you're a taxi driver."
He added that his attacker's breath "smelled heavily of liquor".
He then told his son to call the police.
His upper lip was bleeding and his shirt was stained with blood.
The situation was still tense while they waited for the police to arrive.
A police spokesman confirmed that a report was made. He said two men were taken to Changi General Hospital for treatment of their facial injuries. Both were advised of their legal recourse.
The spokesman added that one of the men (not Mr Soh) was also arrested for suspected drink driving and police investigations are continuing.
Mr Soh said he sustained a cut to his upper lip which required eight stitches, but he was not hospitalised.
He said he lost $200, which might have fallen out of his pocket during the scuffle, and suffered a loss of income for the three days that he was on medical leave.
His company, SMRT Taxis, agreed to waive two and a half days' rental.
Mr Soh said: "I will still do something within my capacity if I see anything done against the law. But I will be more cautious next time."
This article was first published in The New Paper.