Peethambaran Dilip, 69, was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment on May 11, 2022, for hurling racial insults during three separate incidents involving a librarian and polyclinic workers, reported CNA.
The man pleaded guilty to one count of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound racial feelings and two counts of using insulting words against public service workers.
Three other charges were also considered during the sentencing.
Spouting racial insults
On June 9, 2021, a cleaner spotted Dilip lowering his mask and spitting into a dustbin at Clementi Public Library. The act was caught on closed-circuit television.
According to The Straits Times (ST), the cleaner reported the incident to the library's management and library officer Keith Lim approached Dilip before he left.
Knowing that Dilip had done such an act previously, Lim advised him not to spit into the bin again, citing that such an act was unhygienic, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Upset, Dilip hurled words containing offensive racial insults at Lim.
"This should be dealt with sternly, given the need to preserve racial harmony in Singapore," said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Zhi Hao.
Insulted public service worker
Dilip created a scene at Marine Parade Polyclinic on July 22, 2021.
ST reported that Dilip went to the polyclinic to refill his medication. He walked to a health monitoring station which was manned by a patient service associate, Cheok Lay Yean.
Dilip threw his queue ticket on the counter and hurled insults at Cheok.
"Cheok told the accused to stop, but he did not," said DPP Tan.
The staff members of the polyclinic knew him since he had previously scolded their colleagues.
Insulted public service worker again
Dilip returned to the same polyclinic on October 15, 2021.
This time, he approached pharmacist Russel Lim at a pharmacy counter, reported ST.
Lim asked Dilip whether he intended to collect his medication. Dilip did not respond.
Lim asked again and Dilip said, "Of course, I am here to collect my medication. If not, what am I here for?"
He hurled racial insults at Lim afterwards before leaving.
Not his first time
DPP Tan highlighted that Dilip committed criminal intimidation in 2005, without revealing details.
According to CNA, he was also sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment in 2017 for assaulting a bus driver.
His previous convictions made him accountable for enhanced punishments under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act for his two offences at the polyclinic.
Strong deterrent needed
DPP Tan urged the District Judge Jasbendar Kaur to sentence Dilip to six weeks' jail, elaborating that the insulting words used by Dilip were made worse as they included racial slurs and "evoked violent imagery".
He also urged the judge to consider that Dilip committed these offences against frontline healthcare workers during Covid-19 pandemic.
For saying words with deliberate intent to wound racial feelings, Dilip could be sentenced to three years' imprisonment, a fine, or both.
For insulting public service workers, he could be punished with one-year imprisonment, a fine up to S$5,000, or both.
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Top photo by Mothership.