Man who was tased by police after challenging them to a fight at coffee shop gets jail

SINGAPORE: A man who appeared in a viral video challenging the police to a fight before being tased was sentenced to seven months' jail on Friday (Jan 14).

Wong Yew Tien, 42, pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntarily causing hurt and using criminal force to deter public servants from their duties.

A third charge of public nuisance was considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Wong was found lying on the ground at LEFA de Cafe at Block 802, French Road at about 1.35pm on Jul 16 last year.

An ambulance was called and paramedics arrived at the coffee shop soon after, attaching electrocardiogram probes to Wong's chest.

But he suddenly turned violent and began shouting and throwing chairs around, court documents said.

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The paramedics were unable to control the situation and called for the police, who were informed that the man was "high" on drugs and had taken off his pants earlier.

Meanwhile, Wong began challenging people at the coffee shop to a fight, and three people tried to subdue him.

When the police arrived, Wong was released by the three witnesses. He got back on his feet and again challenged one of them, the coffee shop supervisor, to a fight.

In the fracas that followed, Wong flipped over a table and began challenging a 25-year-old police officer from the ground response force. He then charged at him before daring his colleague to a fight as well.

Wong was warned repeatedly to calm down, but instead charged at a policewoman, who blocked his attack and retreated.

Wong then "jabbed" the male officer multiple times, leaving him with a bruise on his forearm. Wong was eventually tased and subdued.

The male officer was given a day's medical leave and painkillers.

The prosecutor on Friday asked for seven to nine months' jail for Wong, saying that the offence occurred in public, and that Wong persistently attacked one of the officers despite being warned repeatedly.

Wong also has many previous convictions, dating from 1994 for theft. In 2000, he was given six-and-a-half years' jail and eight strokes of the cane for crimes including culpable homicide not amounting to murder with common intention.

He was given three months' jail in 2014 for the same type of offence he was charged on Friday for – voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from duty.

Wong also has a history of being ordered to go to a drug rehabilitation centre for supervision and is currently under a drug rehabilitation centre regime.

In mitigation, Wong said: "I feel remorseful for what I have done. I have no intention of committing this case. I was under the influence of drugs. I hope that you can give me a lighter sentence."

"Clearly he wasn't acting very rational on that day," said the prosecutor.

The judge said he appreciated that Wong was under the influence of drugs, which was likely why he acted the way he did, but it was his own voluntary act to take drugs.

He noted that the offences were committed in full view of the public, with visible interference with the authority of the police.

He also took into account Wong's previous convictions.

Artmotion Asia

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