betty August 23, 2022

SINGAPORE – She was on bus service number 51 when she allegedly used her elbow to nudge the arm of an Indian woman without the latter’s consent.

The pair later alighted and Connie Soh, 47, is then said to have abused the woman with a profanity-laced racial insult.

Soh, who is accused of one count each of using criminal force on the woman and deliberately uttering words to wound her racial feelings, had been expected to plead guilty in a district court on Tuesday (Aug 23).

But after a closed-door session in chambers before District Judge Shawn Ho, her case was adjourned for a pre-trial conference on Oct 5.

It was not heard in open court why the case was adjourned.

Soh allegedly used criminal force on the woman when they were on the bus near Haw Par Villa MRT station at around 10.25pm on Nov 30 last year.

The two women were near a West Coast Road block of flats about 20 minutes later,  when Soh allegedly abused her with vulgar language.

Soh, who was unrepresented, is now out on bail of $5,000.

For using criminal force, an offender can be jailed for up to three months and fined up to $1,500.

And for deliberately uttering words to wound another person’s racial feelings, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.

Separately, Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling had earlier said much work had gone into ensuring harmony among the races in Singapore.

However, the work is never over as racial and religious issues can arise from time to time.

Ms Sun also said that the unity, and racial and religious harmony present in Singapore today were not the result of the “natural order of things”.

She added: “It is a state that we have worked hard to achieve and carefully nurtured over many years since the communal riots (in 1964), which are a distant memory for many of us. The harmony we enjoy today will always be a work in progress. As human beings, it always is easy for us to go back to our tribal tendencies.”

Several offenders in unrelated cases here have been dealt with in court  after they abused others with racial insults.

In May, Peethambaran Dilip, 69, was sentenced to six weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to two harassment charges.

The repeat offender also admitted to one count of uttering words with the deliberate intention of wounding a man’s racial feelings.

Peethambaran had committed a range of offences including hurling racial insults at a library officer in June last year.

In another case in July last year, Muhammad Sadiq Syed Kadir, 29, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail and a fine of $1,000.

Among other things, he had verbally abused a man with racial slurs in December 2018.