Tada driver fined $3,000 for hurling racial insults at passenger, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Tada driver fined $3,000 for hurling racial insults at passenger

A Singaporean private-hire car driver has been fined $3,000 for directing racist remarks towards a passenger in September, following a dispute over the drop-off location.

In the exchange, which the 46-year-old female passenger filmed and posted on social media, the driver shouted at her: “You are India(n), I’m a Chinese... You are the very worst kind.”

Peh Boon Hua, 54, was fined on Dec 13 after pleading guilty to one count of using insulting words causing distress under the Protection from Harassment Act.

According to court documents, the victim used the Tada app to book a car from Block 470 Pasir Ris Drive 6 at around 2pm on Sept 23.

She intended to set the drop-off location at Block 194 Pasir Ris Street 12, but due to a malfunction in the Tada application, she had to set the drop-off location at Block 194 Pasir Ris Street 11.

Peh was the assigned driver who came to pick up the victim and her nine-year-old daughter.

However, court documents said Peh was unable to locate Block 194 at Pasir Ris Street 11. An argument about the drop-off location ensued between Peh and the victim, before he made a U-turn and drove towards Pasir Ris Street 12.

As the argument continued, the victim started recording Peh on her phone.

The accused got increasingly angry, and shouted: “You are India, India ah, I am Chinese okay, you are India, I am a Chinese, you are the very worst... worst... worst customer”.

The victim not only felt deeply offended, but unsafe because of his remarks and how loud he was.

She informed him that she was in fact, Singaporean Eurasian and not Indian. She also told him he was being racist.

Peh raised his voice and replied: “I know you India. I am Chinese, you try to be funny with me.”

The victim and her daughter alighted from the car at Block 194 Pasir Ris Street 12, retrieved their items from the boot of the car, and left. She made a police report the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheldon Lim asked for a fine between $3,000 and $4,000 for Peh.

“The overtly racial nature of the accused’s insults is unacceptable and cannot be disregarded,” DPP Lim said.

“There is no place for such language or sentiment in Singapore, and any sentence imposed on the accused must sufficiently deter him and others from repeating this mistake in the future.”

DPP Lim noted that while Peh’s insulting language was targeted at the victim, her young daughter, who was also in the vehicle at the time, would have heard him loudly insulting her mother.

However, he also noted Peh had no prior criminal record and had demonstrated remorse by pleading guilty early.

Tada had suspended the driver in the wake of the videos first circulating on social media.

In response to queries from ST, Tada said Peh is permanently barred from working with the company as a driver.

“The driver’s remarks that insinuated racial differences are completely unacceptable within Tada’s community guidelines and ethos,” said the company.