16 months' jail for Tanglin Halt Food Centre fish soup stall owner, 71, who fractured rival's skull for 'staring'

He struck the victim several times on the head with a wooden pole which had a nail protruding out.

Fiona Tan | October 06, 2023, 01:33 PM



Fuelled by anger after his rival at the same food centre supposedly looked him the wrong way, a fish soup stall owner armed himself with a pole with a protruding nail and attacked the former several times.

His attack left fractures in his rival's skull, left hand and right wrist, and will likely be permanently impaired.

The 71-year-old assailant was sentenced to 16 months' jail on Oct. 5, 2023.

Rivals at Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Peck Chuan Ann and Punnataro Wee Kai Xin, who is in his early fifties, each owned a fish soup stall within Tanglin Halt Food Centre at Commonwealth Drive, Mothership reported previously.

Both men have had disagreements, and the older Peck regards Wee as his bitter rival.

Wee uttered some words

On Apr. 8, 2022 morning, Peck and Wee crossed paths.

Wee was walking back to his stall after buying drinks when he passed by Peck, looked at him, and uttered some words.

Court documents did not detail what Wee uttered.

This angered Peck, who said in his Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report that he attacked Wee "because he stared at me", amongst other reasons.

"I really cannot take it anymore. I felt indignant. I wanted to take something to hit him," he added.

Peck attacked Wee

Peck armed himself with a wooden pole from the food centre's wash basin area and used it to attack Wee from behind.

He struck Wee several times on the head with one end of the 71cm wooden pole which had a protruding nail.

Image from Shin Min Daily News.

Wee, who was sitting in front of his stall at the time, fell to the ground.

Peck tried to strike Wee's wife, who was at the stall and tried to intervene, but she managed to grab ahold of the pole and eventually disarmed Peck with Wee's help.

Both men injured

Wee was conveyed to National University Hospital for treatment, where he was found to have sustained a scalp laceration, a skull fracture leading to bleeding in his brain, and fractures to his left hand and right wrist.

He required nine stitches to his head and was assessed to have his right wrist likely permanently impaired.

He was given 75 days of hospitalisation leave.

Image from Shin Min Daily News.

Peck, who was also injured from the scuffle, turned himself at a police station upon his daughter's advice.

Peck was arrested on the same day of the incident, Apr. 8, 2022.

Charged Sep. 19, 2023

He was charged in court on Sep. 19, 2023 with one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Wee, Mothership reported previously.

Prosecution: "Persistent", "vicious" attack was "premeditated

The prosecution noted that Peck's persistent and "vicious" attack was "premeditated" as Peck had made sure no one saw him pick up the wooden pole, ambushed and struck Wee several times on the head, which is "highly vulnerable".

The prosecutor sought a deterrent sentence of 18 to 22 months' imprisonment, noting Peck's aggression, where he also tried to strike Wee's wife.

Defence: "Mild impairment" to Peck's capacity to exercise self-control and restraint

The defence claimed that IMH diagnosed Peck to be suffering from adjustment disorder with a depressed mood during his offences.

In a July 2023 report, an IMH psychiatrist suggested that Peck's diagnosis led to "at least a mild impairment" of his capacity to exercise self-control and restraint towards Wee.

The IMH psychiatrist also suggested that Peck's psychiatric condition had contributed to the offence, despite finding that Peck had "formed a clear intent to assault the alleged victim and taken steps to do so".

Highlighting that the impairment to Peck's self-control and restraint was "only mild", the prosecution argued that Peck's psychiatric condition should only be given slight mitigating weight.

He further argued that there could not be a "provocation" for the attack, given that the victim "merely looked at the accused and made an utterance".

Sentenced to 16 months' jail

The judge sentenced Peck to 16 months' jail when he pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2023, CNA reported.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Peck could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

However, he cannot be caned as he is over 50.

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Top image from Shin Min Daily News website