Singapore: A Singaporean man of Chinese origin was sentenced to four weeks in jail and fined 1,000 Singapore dollars for racist remarks insulting an Indian national working at the Changi airport.
William Aw Chin Chai (47) had also stepped on and hurt a foot of a woman, who had held a lift door open for him, and had splashed noodles on two men at the Singtel Shop Comcentre in separate incidents, reported Channel News Asia.
He pleaded guilty to the charges of wounding racial feelings, using criminal force and voluntarily causing hurt on Friday. A fourth charge for stealing four mineral water bottles from a food court was taken into consideration.
The court heard that Aw was jobless when he committed those offences on three different occasions last year.
On August 3, he was in a lift at Changi Airport Terminal 2 when the victim, 33-year-old Indian national Ramachandiran Umapathy, entered the lift. The construction worker was at the airport to perform installation works for the MRT (metro) tunnel. When he entered the lift, Aw began uttering: “You f****** dirty people, go out”, “F*** off” and “I don’t like to take (lift) with Indians, you smelly”.
Ramachandiran told Aw off for making such racist remarks, Assistant Public Prosecutor Lydia Goh told the court.
The Indian had also filmed the exchange and posted it on the Facebook page of the Singapore Police Force. The video was later picked up by other pages and went viral. Ramachandiran had also lodged a police report.
More than a month since the incident, Aw was eating at the Singtel Comcentre along Exeter Road when he picked up a plastic bowl of noodle soup, walked over to two unidentified men and splashed it at them.
The incident was captured on closed-circuit television.
In January last year, Aw injured a woman who had held a lift door open for him as he was rushing in.
The court heard that after Aw entered the lift at the National University Hospital’s Medical Centre, he stood near the woman, 49-year-old Wahida Abdullah, and stepped on her left foot.
Wahida sought medical treatment for the mild injury on her foot, before calling the police.
The prosecution said the woman was an “innocent victim who was so nice so as to press the lift button for the accused to enter”.
“In return for her kindness, he stepped on her foot,” said the prosecutor.
The prosecution asked for four weeks’ jail and a fine of SGD 1,000.
However, defence lawyer Siraj Shaik Aziz asked for a week’s jail for the offence of wounding racial feelings, saying it was not premeditated.
Aw was remorseful, he said, and had pleaded guilty at the earliest instance.
In response, the prosecutor said Aw had not only said those words against the victim but was also shown in CCTV footage to be kicking at him and acting in a “very violent” manner.
The incident happened at the Changi airport, which was frequented by tourists, and a message needed to be sent out that “this type of action is not tolerated by the court”, she said.
For wounding racial feelings, Aw could have been jailed for up to three years, or fined, or both.
He could have been jailed for up to three months, fined a maximum SGD 1,500, or both for using criminal force on the two men.
For voluntarily causing hurt to the woman, he could have been jailed for two years, fined a maximum amount of SGD 5,000, or both.