Tanglin Halt hawker has skull fracture, blood clot in brain after alleged attack
A hawker suffered a skull fracture and has a minor blood clot in his brain after being allegedly attacked by a man at Tanglin Halt Food Centre yesterday morning.
The alleged attacker is believed to be a fellow hawker there who has a longstanding dispute with the victim. A 69-year-old man was arrested.
Mr Punnataro Wee, 51, was preparing vegetables outside his fish soup noodle stall at around 7am when a man allegedly attacked him with a wooden pole.
"I fell to the ground in a daze. When I regained my senses, I saw my girlfriend struggling with him. She was trying to prise the weapon from him," he told The Straits Times at National University Hospital (NUH), where he was admitted.
"I got up and rushed over to help her. The attacker fell to the floor and ran off. It was only then that I felt the throbbing pain at the back of my head," he said. "My shirt and pants were soaked in blood."
He added that the alleged attacker, said to be in his 60s, also runs a fish soup noodle stall at the food centre.
The police said they responded to a call for assistance at the food centre in Commonwealth Drive at around 7.10am yesterday. The man also allegedly punched a woman and fled, they said.
ST understands that the woman is Mr Wee's girlfriend.
"Preliminary investigations revealed that the man is known to the victims," the police added.
Mr Wee was conscious when taken to NUH, where he was hospitalised in the neurosurgical high-dependency unit. He received nine stitches on his head, and his right wrist and a finger on his left hand were fractured, he said.
His girlfriend, Ms Wang Wei, 54, said the man charged at Mr Wee with a 1m-long wooden pole that had a screw attached to it.
"It was without warning," she said in Mandarin. "I tried to grab the weapon from the man and he hit my head." She said her head and left hand were swollen from the attack. "There was so much blood. I was so frightened."
Mr Wee said that he had a long-standing dispute with the man which began in March 2020.
"We were fine all along but one day, we argued over something so minor that I don't remember what it was about. He picked up a 55cm-long soup ladle and hit me," he alleged.
Mr Wee's fish soup stall was shut after Ms Wang was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer last November. It reopened on Monday.
Mr Wee said: "I don't know why he would attack me, unprovoked, all of a sudden. If he had hit the right spot, I'd probably be dead already."
He added that he has to be hospitalised for about three days for observation due to a minor blood clot in his brain.
A hawker in his 50s, who runs Tong Kee Chicken Rice stall next to Ms Wang's fish soup stall, said the incident lasted about two minutes.
Mr Tan, who declined to give his full name, said: "The man attacked when the victim wasn't looking, without a word. My wife and I were so shocked that we shouted. It happened so suddenly."