47-year-old driver who hit car arrested for drug-related offences
Armed with partial licence plate details, a retiree hunts down car which hit his neighbour's vehicle, in a nearby lane
He was watching television when a crash made him jump out of his seat.
Retiree Peter Chua, 63, ran out of his semi-detached house at Florence Road in Serangoon and saw that the back of his neighbour's car had been hit by a car that was speeding off.
Said Mr Chua: "The impact was so strong, it even caused my rubbish bins to fly about 2m."
Although he did not have a good view of the car, Mr Chua was able to make out the first three letters of the licence plate.
The car then turned into a small lane behind Mee Sek Foodcourt along Upper Serangoon Road, about 50m away.
Determined to find the culprit, Mr Chua walked to the lane and started looking for cars bearing licence plates starting with the same letters.
There was only one - a black Mitsubishi Lancer. Mr Chua felt the bonnet of the car. It was hot, indicating it had just been in use.
"I knew that it had to be him," he said.
He quickly went to tell his neighbour, Mr Tay, 62, that the culprit who had hit his car was still nearby.
Together with his 28-year-old son, Mr Tay walked to the lane and waited for the driver. He soon appeared, but according to Mr Tay, he did not look sober.
"He kept shouting and could not even walk properly," he said.
He said the man first denied doing any wrongdoing. But he later owned up.
When the father and son pair asked the man for his identity card, he searched in vain for it in his car.
When told they would call the police to settle the matter, the man started shouting again.
He then got into his car and drove off. Mr Tay's son called the police.
But the man returned 20 minutes later, offering to help them repair the damage and claiming that he owned a car repair company.
When Mr Tay refused, he became aggressive and threatened to punch Mr Tay's wife, Madam Quek, 58.
Madam Quek said: "He was causing a commotion that was scaring all the neighbours. So many of them came out to see what was going on."
The man then ran back to Mee Sek Foodcourt.
Said manager Neo Aik Guan, 67: "He was walking with a hunch and drooling. He kept on trying to go on to the road."
Mr Neo and one of his assistants managed to stop the man and sat him down at a table. A group of teenagers even brought him more chairs.
The man had blacked out by then and some customers splashed water on his face, attempting to wake him up.
When the police arrived at about 1am, the man started behaving violently once more.
Mr Neo said that he attempted to resist officers' efforts to restrain him, thrashing about till he was lying down on the pavement outside the coffee shop.
He was eventually taken into custody. Police said the 47-year-old man was arrested for drug-related offences.
Mr Chua said that this is not the first time an accident has happened in his area.
"People always come here at night to have supper and they are sometimes careless. I've had to replace my flower pots three times because people keep hitting them," he said.
"But nothing as dramatic as this," he added with a sigh.
Under the law, drivers who hit a stationary vehicle where there are no witnesses have to leave behind their particulars.
They also have to report the accident to the police within 24 hours, unless first contacted by the vehicle owner.
Otherwise, they will be considered to have committed a hit-and-run offence, for which the penalty is a maximum fine of $3,000, and a jail term of up to a year.
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