Man fined for flipping tables, lying on the road in Geylang

SINGAPORE (CNA) – After sharing bottles of drinks with his friends at his usual coffee shop haunt, a 63-year-old man began flipping tables and kicking over chairs before lying down on the road, blocking traffic.

He was taken to hospital but later returned to the coffee shop, where he continued to knock the furniture around. For committing a rash act endangering the personal safety of others and being a public nuisance by flipping the furniture, Tan Hock Soon was fined SGD4,300 yesterday.

A third charge for returning to the shop to flip the tables and chairs was taken into consideration.

The court heard that Tan was a regular at Fu Xing Ji Coffeeshop near Lorong 16 Geylang.

He was at the coffee shop with two friends on March 21 last year, where they had started drinking from 6pm, sharing up to six bottles between them.

At about 10pm, Tan stood up to leave, but one of his friends stopped to chat with another man, who was drinking by himself.

Tan grew impatient and went to the man’s table, where he started spewing vulgarities. The man ignored him and Tan was asked to leave by the owner of the coffee shop.

Tan grew unhappy and started kicking the tables and chairs, and flipping them over. He did this for about 10 minutes. Annoyed, some customers left without paying.

When the owner tried to stop Tan, he attempted to hit her but was stopped by the owner’s husband, who grabbed his hands. Tan fell to the floor.

After picking himself up, Tan walked out of the coffee shop to Geylang Road. He removed his shirt and started pacing between lanes, shouting at passing motorists and arguing with onlookers.

Drivers had to stop their vehicles or change lanes to avoid colliding with Tan, who eventually lay down across lane three of the road.

“The accused lay belly-up, with his arms and legs fanned outwards,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Joseph Gwee.

Tan’s antics resulted in traffic congestion, and the police and an ambulance were called to the shop. Tan was taken to Singapore General Hospital as he had injured himself, but returned after being discharged at around 11.30pm and continued to cause a ruckus.

The prosecutor asked for the fine that was meted out, saying that “the accused’s disorderly and loutish behaviour represents the ills of public drunkenness and should be generally deterred”.

“It is clear from the footage that the incident had occurred in a public place with high vehicular traffic at the time,” he said, pointing to footage that was shown in court. “The accused’s actions posed a danger to other road users and his movements were somewhat unpredictable, resulting in motorists having to take quick evasive action. These motorists expressed their frustration by sounding the horn on the accused.”