Beach Road man allegedly punched taxi driver's face after sitting in cab someone else had booked

Unacceptable behaviour.

Jane Zhang | April 24, 2022, 09:31 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

[UPDATED on Monday, Apr. 25 at 6:50pm: The alleged assailant's name and company have reportedly been identified and shared with the police and the taxi driver.

ComfortDelGro has also shared their statement on the incident, saying that they will be assisting the driver and waiving his rental for the three days of medical leave he has been given.

Read more here.]

A man allegedly punched a taxi driver in the face after he was asked to exit the taxi, as it had already been booked by other people.

Malcolm Keating, an assistant professor of philosophy at Yale-NUS College, posted about the incident on Twitter and called for anyone who recognises the man to contact the police.

Man who was sitting in their booked taxi punched driver

Keating told Mothership that he and two friends, who also work at Yale-NUS College, had booked a ComfortDelGro taxi at 10pm on Saturday (Apr. 23) at the junction of Arab Street and Beach Road.

The taxi driver had a hard time finding the group as the area was busy at the time, and by the time the three friends found the taxi, another man had gotten into the car and was sitting inside.

The driver later told Keating that upon seeing the three of them arriving, he realised that the man sitting inside his taxi was not his customer and asked him to leave.

Keating said that he then opened the back door of the car, but before the man got out, he punched the taxi driver in the face.

After the man exited the taxi, Keating said that he and his two friends confronted him about his actions. Keating also began filming the man — who he said seemed to be intoxicated — in order to capture his face.

As Keating was filming, he wanted to tell the man that he should not have hit the taxi driver and that he should stay put.

However, he only managed to say "Excuse me, um, you wanna go that way..." before the man shoved Keating backwards onto the street.

Thankfully, Keating managed to dodge the oncoming Beach Road traffic.

Man walked away through Haji Lane

At that point, the man started walking away and Keating followed him and continued filming.

In the video, the man could be seen strolling towards Haji Lane while a voice — presumably the taxi driver's — yelled in the background, "Call police! He hit me!"

Gif via Twitter/@cmalcolmkeating.

As the man made his way through the tables of people drinking at Haji Lane, Keating pointed at him from behind the camera and yelled: "Can someone call the cops on that guy? He just assaulted someone!"

The man then turned around suddenly, as if he was ready to fight, and then flipped Keating off.

Gif via Twitter/@cmalcolmkeating.

Keating retreated slightly and the man continued on his way, with no bystanders intervening.

Keating again shouted, "This man just assaulted someone! He just assaulted..." before trailing off.

As the man walked off, Keating let out a frustrated, "F*ck!", as he was upset that the man was able to walk away and none of the other people around were doing anything to stop him.

Keating then returned to the taxi to check on the driver, who was being attended to by someone else.

The driver did not want to call the police at the time and instead drove Keating and his friends home.

Police report lodged

Keating said that once he got home, he lodged a police report. He believes that the taxi driver has also made a police report.

Keating tweeted that the following morning (Apr. 24), he followed up with the taxi driver:

"I talked to the uncle this morning and he went to the doctor. I think he's okay but shaken up. This was unexcusable behavior (sic) and I'd like to see this man be held accountable."

He called on anyone who recognises the man to contact that police.

In response to Mothership's queries, Tammy Tan, ComfortDelGro's group chief branding and communications officer, said that the company is in contact with the taxi driver and is assisting him in the aftermath of the alleged assault.

"We will be waiving rental for the three days of medical leave that he has been given, and will be assisting him the best we can. We will also assist the Police in their investigations."

“Our cabbies deserve to work in a safe environment like everybody else," Tan said.

She also extended her gratitude to Keating and his friends:

"We would like to thank Mr Keating and his friends for helping our cabby and bringing this matter to our attention."

Mothership has also reached out to the Singapore Police about the incident.

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top photos via Twitter/@cmalcolmkeating.