~by: Jewel Philemon~
"Who's your daddy?" was the last Mr Lawrence Wong remembers hearing as a suited Mr Robert James Springall sped away in a taxi from the scene of a violent assault.
It all began on a Saturday night in April 2010 when Mr Wong, his fiance, Ms Sabrina, and friend, Mr Paul Louis Liew Kai Ming, met at popular nightspot, Balaclava, to plan Mr Wong’s impending wedding to Ms Sabrina. The merry evening soon turned into a nightmare when three heavily drunk expatriates attacked the trio and two taxicab drivers, in a brawl that made headlines when two of the three assailants fled the country while on bail.
“It was past midnight when we left Balaclava, so I called a friend, Mr Tay, who drives a cab to pick us up”, recounts Mr Wong in a chat with TOC, “He agreed to pick us up and while we were waiting for him, another taxi (driven by Mr Tan) pulled up. It was at this time that four suited men walked in to the vicinity.” Mr Wong says that the Caucasians proceeded to walk into another bar and downed a few more drinks, despite already appearing quite heavily under the influence of alcohol.
Mr Wong says that the four men (later identified as Robert James Springall, Robert Stephen Dahlberg, Nathan Robert Miller and Mr B) left the bar without paying, causing quite a commotion with the bouncers. In an attempt to flee the scene, the quartet approached Mr Tan’s taxi for a ride.
The group turned rowdy when Mr Tan refused, highlighting that he was 'on call'. Miller pounced on Mr Tan’s taxi bonnet and began jumping on it, much to the delight of his companions. “I called Tay and asked him to hurry as I sensed trouble,” Mr Wong explains.
It was at this point that Springall started assaulting Mr Tan and brutally pulled him out of the car, delivering several sharp blows to his neck and chest.
“Tay arrived then and we hurried into our taxi”, Mr Wong continues, “I was the last to get in, but it was at that time when I saw Mr Tan crawling towards me, saying that he has a heart problem and that he has a battery in his chest.”
“All I could think of at the moment was, ‘What if he (Mr Tan) is my father? Would I still walk away then?’ There was a crowd gathered there and no one did anything. People were taking videos instead of helping this man!”
“Miller came at me as I tried to help Mr Tan. Tay, my friend, stepped into the altercation and acted as a human shield for me and took the blow. Dahlberg then came in and hit me as Miller chased Tay around. Tay collapsed to the ground and held Miller’s leg, begging for mercy but Miller started kicking him in his face!”
“I did not want to have any contact with the assailants as that may be construed as offensive”, reasons Mr Liew, a law undergraduate “All my body contact was with Tay and my back was facing the assailants.”
This was when Dahlberg charged at Mr Liew from behind and smashed him into a pillar. Dahlberg continued to smash Mr Liew into the pillar and, according to Mr Wong, backtracked 10 metres away and charged forward into Mr Liew who was already bleeding profusely with several head wounds. “Blood flowed from his head like this," said Mr Wong demonstrating by pouring out a cup of water. "He easily lost over a litre of blood that night," Mr Wong added.
The episode came to a close when the attackers finally decided to flee the scene. Mr Wong followed the men as he felt that, “they could kill someone that night.”
“If you don’t f**k off, I will kill you like what I did to them.”, one of the assailants threatened Mr Wong as they escaped. The expats successfully fled in a taxi near Pan Pacific Hotel.
"Who's your daddy?" was the last Mr Lawrence Wong remembers hearing from the traumatic incident.
'Inefficient, Ineffective, Slow Police and Legal System' – Watch this space for part 2 of ‘Expat Assault Victims tell all’ tomorrow.
Editor's note: This article was edited on 16 February 2012 at 4.45pm because TOC was contacted by one of the four men identified in this story that he is concerned that 'there are several untruths being reported' and that his 'association to the fight is very misleading'. TOC has arranged to meet this person to clarify on his involvement in this expat assault case.