Convinced that the car in front of him was driving too slowly, a 52-year-old Singaporean man took out a laser pointer and aimed it at the other driver’s rear-view mirror.
The beam irritated the driver’s eyes and caused him to briefly lose focus on the road ahead.
For his dangerous action, Patrick Ong Choon Hua — who is employed as an aquathlon coach — was sentenced to two weeks in jail on June 24.
According to Yahoo News, Ong had pleaded guilty to committing a rash act and endangering the life or personal safety of others.
Another charge of a similar nature, involving another victim on a different date, was taken into consideration for sentencing.
One hand on the wheel, the other aiming the laser pointer
Court documents seen by Mothership show that Ong was driving on the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) towards the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) on Sep. 2, 2020, at about 4:55pm.
At that time he found himself on the rightmost lane behind a vehicle driven by 41-year-old Lim Chee Yong.
Lim was travelling at about 80km/h.
As Lim was driving too slow for his liking, Ong flashed his car’s high beams and turned on his hazard lights, signalling that he wanted Lim to change lanes.
Yet as there were other vehicles in the adjacent lane, Lim was unable to do so safely.
About 30 seconds later, Ong then took out his laser pointer. According to Yahoo News, the coach told the court that he normally used it for work to correct running and swimming technique.
Holding the steering wheel with one hand and the laser pointer in the other, Ong pointed the beam at Lim’s rear-view mirror for about 13 seconds.
Court documents read that Ong did so to force Lim to change lanes; the latter felt irritation in his eyes and was briefly unable to focus on the road ahead.
Later, when Lim managed to change lanes, Ong continued to point the laser beam diagonally at Lim’s car for nine more seconds, until Lim was no longer in his line of sight.
Had used the laser pointer on other occasions
Ong’s actions were caught on a rear-facing camera in Lim’s car, who made a police report later that evening.
During investigations, Ong admitted that he had used his laser pointer in a similar fashion on previous occasions.
He also admitted that he knew that the laser beam can be annoying or distracting, and that it can temporarily blind other drivers resulting in an accident.
Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren said in his sentencing submissions that the laser beam might have resulted in Lim losing control of the vehicle he was driving.
“This has the potential for severe consequences,” wrote the prosecution, adding that it could have caused the complainant, as well as various other parties to be involved in an accident.
In court, Ong was quoted by Yahoo News as saying that the incident had happened on his birthday.
“I (was) going back home…Why I keep shining is because he is blocking the way…I got no intention to harm anybody,” he said.
However, the judge — Magistrate Hairul Hakkim — called the act “highly perilous” and commented that even watching a video of the incident was blinding.
For committing a rash act, Ong could have been jailed up to six months, fined up to S$2,500, or both.
Top image by Gabe Pierce via Unsplash