Singapore: Construction boss jailed after attacking worker with iron bar over pay dispute

A district court sentenced Ho Seow Gai to three weeks in prison after pleading guilty to willfully injuring Mr. Mia Rashed. – TODAY File Photo

Friday, August 19, 2022 5:08 PM MYT

SINGAPORE, Aug 19 – Angered by a dispute with his employee over wages owed, a construction company boss threw an iron bar at the worker, injuring him in the head.

A district court today sentenced Ho Seow Gai, 67, to three weeks in prison after pleading guilty to willfully injuring Mr Mia Rashed, a 39-year-old Bangladeshi man.

Mr Rashed was an employee of the eponymous company Ho Seow Gai Construction of Ho at the time of the incident.

The case

Deputy Attorney General (DPP) R Arvindren told the court that the altercation between the two men happened on February 12 last year.

On February 11, Mr Rashed told Ho he wanted his salary paid, and the older man replied that he would pay it the next day.

Mr Rashed reiterated his request the next day and Ho said he would meet him in person at an industrial site in Sungei Kadut to discuss the matter. It was not specified why he chose this place.

When the couple met, they argued. Eventually, Ho grabbed an iron bar weighing nearly half a kilogram and began attacking Mr. Rashed with it.

The first hit hit Mr Rashed in the head, while the second struck the young man’s hand, which he was using to defend himself.

The attack left Mr Rashed bleeding and screaming for help, which caught the attention of another employee who came to his aid.

Ho then stopped his attack, cleaned up the blood on the floor, and left the scene before the police could arrive.

Mr Rashed was sent to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where it was discovered that he had a 2cm long wound on his forehead and a shallow incision on his palm.

The court heard that Ho had paid Mr Rashed’s medical bills, which amounted to more than S$2,000.

DPP Arvindren, who sought a three to five week prison sentence, said that although the injuries were “pretty minor”, Ho had targeted a vulnerable part of Mr Rashed’s body.

Additionally, Ho had used an iron bar, which the prosecutor said was dangerous.

“The dispute was over salary and the defendant did not need to resort to threats or violence,” he said.

Arguing for a lighter sentence for his client, Mr Anil Singh of Kerta & Sandhu LLC said the incident was “one off” and “out of place” as Ho had never shown a propensity for violence.

The lawyer added that his client was “the very person who enabled Rashed to change for the better” after the youngster was discovered to be in possession of unpaid cigarettes.

“(Ho) is sympathetic in nature, he was unable to hold back his emotions when disagreements were spoken,” Mr Singh said.

Ho has had time to get his affairs in order and will begin his sentence on August 23. Her son and his guarantor posted bond of S$5,000.

For willfully causing injury, Ho could have been jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$5,000. – TODAY