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Singapore: Chinese cab driver fined for hurling abuses at woman, daughter assuming them to be Indians

Peh Boon Hua, 54, was fined on December 13 after pleading guilty to one count of using insulting words causing distress under the Protection from Harassment Act, according to media reports surfacing on Tuesday. The woman and her daughter were actually of Eurasian-origin.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Singapore Updated on: December 19, 2023 19:40 IST
Representational Image
Image Source : FILE Representational Image

A Chinese-origin cab driver has been fined and permanently barred from working for the taxi company after he hurled racial abuses at a woman and her daughter, assuming them to be Indians. The issue came to light in September when the woman posted the incident and posted it on social media, where the driver was heard saying, "You are India(n), I'm Chinese... You are the very worst kind".

Peh Boon Hua, 54, was fined on December 13 after pleading guilty to one count of using insulting words causing distress under the Protection from Harassment Act, according to media reports surfacing on Tuesday. Court documents reveal that Peh was unable to locate the drop-off destination for Janelle Hoeden and her nine-year-old daughter, leading to an argument.

The driver shouted at the woman while driving, “You are India(n), I'm Chinese...You are the very worst kind..." after she started recording the altercation on her phone. The woman said that she felt deeply offended and unsafe because of his loud tone and racist remarks.

Meanwhile, Peh is permanently barred from working with the company as a driver, according to TADA, one of the phone cab operators in Singapore. TADA had previously suspended the driver after videos of the altercation surfaced on social media. "The driver’s remarks that insinuated racial differences are completely unacceptable within TADA'S community guidelines and ethos," it said.

How did the situation unfold?

Hoeden, a 46-year-old Eurasian origin, took the social media to narrate her ordeal. She said the ride started uneventfully and she was talking to her child when suddenly the driver got upset that part of the road was blocked due to construction of an upcoming metro, MRT line, along the ride in Pasir Ris housing estate.

“He started shouting at me, saying that I gave him the wrong address and wrong directions,” her post read. The driver was also seen accusing her daughter of being less than 1.35 metres tall and called her "very illegal". The driver shouted at the woman while driving, “You are India(n), I'm Chinese...You are the very worst kind...” Hoeden corrected the driver, saying: “I am Singapore Eurasian, not Indian.”

Eurasians are usually tanned and at times appear to be Indian in appearance. “Whether I was tanned skin, or Indian, or otherwise, it’s unacceptable what he said – it was totally uncalled for, that he pulled out the race card,” she said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheldon Lim asked for a fine between SGD 3,000 and SGD 4,000 for Peh. "The overtly racial nature of the accused’s insults is unacceptable and cannot be disregarded,” DPP Lim said.

“There is no place for such language or sentiment in Singapore, and any sentence imposed on the accused must sufficiently deter him and others from repeating this mistake in the future," she further said. Lim also noted that the victim's daughter would have heard him loudly insulting her mother. He also noted Peh had no prior criminal record and had demonstrated remorse by pleading guilty early.

(with PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Singapore: Chinese cab driver hurls abuses at woman, her daughter assuming them to be Indians

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