Man convicted of racially abusing, kicking Indian woman in Singapore

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Singapore, June 14

A man in Singapore has been convicted for racially abusing and kicking an Indian-origin woman who had her mask down during the Covid-19 pandemic, a media report said.

Wong Xing Fong kicked private tutor Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai on the chest while she was walking to work near the Northvale condominium in Choa Chu Kang in May 2021, The Straits Times reported.

Wong, who was charged in 2021 with one count each of racially hurting the victim and committing a racially aggravated attack, is expected to be sentenced on July 31.

Nita told the court that she was walking with her mask down when she heard Wong and his fiancee shouting at her to "mask up".

A mother of two adult children, Nita told the couple that she had lowered her mask below her nose to prevent breathlessness as she was walking fast.

"The accused instead scolded the complainant (and verbally insulted her). To de-escalate the matter, the complainant responded, 'God bless you'," the prosecution added.

"The accused, however, kicked the complainant on her chest area. He and (his fiancee) then jogged off," The Straits Times quoted the prosecution as saying.

Nita testified that an eyewitness helped her to her feet and applied a plaster to a wound on her left forearm following which she filed a police complaint.

The prosecution told the court that the eyewitness, who was unrelated to either party, testified that she saw a man kicking Nita.

Wong, claimed via his lawyer that Nita was sarcastic and aggressive, and hurled vulgarities at him instead. He also claimed that she spat at him and his fiancee, and he reacted by pushing the victim.

While Wong accepted that he had used vulgarities, he denied they were racial insults.

But the prosecution said any allegation that Vishnubhai spat at him was "fatally contradicted" by the conduct of Wong and his fiancee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several other ministers had denounced the attack in Facebook posts on May 10.

Lee said that the attack "goes against everything that our multiracial society stands for, and the mutual respect and racial harmony that we hold so dear".

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said: "Based on the lady's version, this seems to be a racist, xenophobic attack. Unacceptable."

According to Singapore law, one can be jailed for more than four years and fined up to SG$7,500 if convicted of voluntarily causing hurt to another person in a racially aggravated attack.

If convicted of wounding another person's racial feelings, Wong can be jailed for up to three years and fined.

--IANS

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