SINGAPORE - Wanting to catch his wife with her alleged lover, a man waited for them at a budget hotel. In his determination to do so, the man later clung onto the third party’s car bonnet as the latter drove for 7km in a bid to shake him off.
The man, 27, ended up hanging onto the car windscreen and bonnet for almost half an hour as Desmond Koh Wee Boon, 34, drove at speeds of up to 70kmh.
On Wednesday (2 October), Koh was jailed for 11 weeks and disqualified from driving for 24 months. He pleaded guilty to one count of rash act endangering human life, with another count of a similar nature taken into consideration for sentencing.
On 28 April last year, at around 3.10am, Koh and the man's wife were at Fragrance Hotel located in Kovan, at Upper Serangoon Road.
The man, who had long suspected that his wife was having an affair, followed her to the hotel with a friend of his. He waited at the back alley of the hotel while his friend waited in his car at the front.
After about one to two hours, the man spotted Koh and his wife entering a car parked along Sireh Place. The man approached Koh and started banging on the windscreen and driver’s side window with his hands, demanding that his wife and Koh alight.
However, Koh started the car and drove off instead, with the man clinging onto the driver’s door. The man shouted for Koh to stop the car but he continued driving for some 40 metres down Sireh Place.
As Koh turned left into Kampong Sireh, the man was flung from the car onto the road.
Koh's car then halted behind a stationary vehicle along Kampong Sireh,which gave the man time to get up from the ground and clamber onto the bonnet of the car.
The man clung onto the top of the car’s windscreen with his body partially covering it. When the vehicle in front of Koh's car moved off, Koh drove off with the man still hanging onto the car.
Koh drove for another 250 metres to the SingTel building located along Upper Serangoon Road. The man's wife alighted to persuade her husband to get off the car, but the man refused.
With the man still clinging onto the windscreen, Koh drove along Upper Serangoon Road, Upper Paya Lebar Road, Lorong Ah Soo, Hougang Avenue 3, and Defu Lane 10.
Somewhere between Upper Serangoon Road and Defu Lane 10, Lim Seng Huat, a Grab driver, and his passenger spotted the man hanging from the windscreen and banging on the roof of Koh's car.
The man noticed Lim and the passenger, and shouted for them to call the police. The passenger called the police, saying that "a guy was hanging at the top of a red car".
When Koh drove ahead, Lim and his passenger followed him. The latter observed that Koh had driven at high speed and braked intermittently in an attempt to dislodge the man from the car. He had also beaten red traffic lights.
Koh drove some distance back to Upper Serangoon Road, past Serangoon MRT and NEX Shopping Mall, into Serangoon Avenue 2. He then drove into the carpark of an HDB estate at Serangoon Avenue 2.
Lim and his passenger did not follow as they intended to intercept Koh at the carpark's exit. They left a while later due to safety concerns.
At around 3.38am, the police managed to locate and stop Koh in front of Block 323 Serangoon Avenue 3.
Koh alighted from the vehicle and was interviewed by police officers. The man's wife and his friend arrived shortly later. When the woman asked Koh if he was alright, the man shouted why she "did not care for him first”.
By then, the man got off the car and was held back by police officers. Koh and the man were arrested.
At about 3.55am, while being detained by the police, the man fainted from hyperventilation and was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. According to investigations, Koh travelled at least 7km with the man on the windscreen and drove for about 28 minutes in such a manner.
The man was not investigated for any offence.
Deputy Public Prosecutor David Lee sought a three-month jail term for Koh and a driving disqualification of two years.
Koh's lawyer, Peter Keith Fernando, asked for a fine of $1,500, saying that his client had been "overwhelmed with fear". The man used an object to hit the side window of Koh’s car before climbing onto the bonnet, according to the lawyer.
"Desmond committed the offence for the sole purpose of extricating himself from an escalating situation for fear of his own safety," said Fernando, adding that the man had been aggressive.
There were plenty of opportunities for the man to get down when the car was stationary but he did not, said the lawyer.
However, DPP Lee disagreed that a weapon was used, adding that Koh showed disregard for the man’s safety by braking intermittently.
DPP Lee agreed that the man was the aggressor but said that Koh acted “wholly disproportionate” to what he perceived was a threat from the man.
District Judge Christopher Goh said that a jail term was warranted and that there were no "exceptional" mitigating circumstances in the case.
DJ Goh noted that Koh had driven fast while someone was clinging onto his bonnet and that the distance travelled was not short. Koh's braking also added to the danger and even if he was overwhelmed with fear, he could have stopped the car, he added.
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