British journalist fined for punching taxi driver

Other News Materials 30 April 2008 08:01 (UTC +04:00)

A British journalist was fined 1,000 Singapore dollars (746 US dollars) for punching a taxi driver who claimed he had no change, news reports said Wednesday.

Andrew Bevan Jones, with Dow Jones news agency, pleaded guilty in Singapore district court to hurting Irwan Shah Saharim, 33, on October 21, the dpa reported.

The fare was 25 Singapore dollars (17 US dollars), and Jones paid with a 50-Singapore-dollar (35-US-dollar) note, The Straits Times said. The driver said he had no change.

The two men quarrelled, and Jones punched Shah, fracturing his nose.

"The cabby told my client that in Singapore, the passenger must ensure that he has the right change, and that it's not the taxi driver's responsibility," The Straits Times quoted Jones' lawyer PE Ashokan as saying Tuesday.

Jones said he offered to go home to get change and pay by credit card, but the cabby refused.

He and Shah each claimed to have offered to go to a nearby store, but each blamed the other for refusing to do so.

Taxi companies said their drivers should always have enough change in hand. If they do not, they should suggest payment by credit card.

Jones could have been jailed for up to one year for voluntarily causing injury.