German business exec sentenced 10 days jail for punching taxi driver, said he pays $40,000 in tax therefore should have priority

A German national who punched a taxi driver in the forehead was sentenced to 10 days’ jail on 15 November. The maximum punishment for causing hurt is two years’ jail and a $5,000 fine.

According to the report by Straits Times, the District Judge Lim Tse Haw said just a fine would not be enough for Michael Fritsch (38), a German business executive, as the judge noted that his behavior in the incident was ‘nothing short of deplorable’.

The incident took place inside a cab along Kim Seng Road at 4.33am on 17 May, 2015, where Fritsch, head of business operations Asia Pacific region of T-Systems Singapore had tried to cut a taxi queue. However, when the taxi driver refused to allow him to cut the queue, he sat in nevertheless and refused to get out.

However, even when the taxi driver finally agreed to drive for him, Fritsch made things difficult for him, until finally the driver had no choice but said he’ll call the police.

Just last month, Fritsch has paid Mr Low $1,675 in compensation and given him a letter of apology.

The judge said he noted Fritsch’s guilty plea, albeit late, his letter of apology, and compensation to the taxi driver but found hardly any lessening factors in the case

He said, “I am of the view that the starting point for such a case is an imprisonment term of four weeks, but I am bringing down the prison term. I hope you have learnt your lesson in this incident and never ever to resort to violence against anyone, let alone a public transport worker. I am of the view that the custodial threshold has been crossed,”

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia giving more details on how the incident transpired, said that Fritsch and his friend had had many glasses of beer with his friend by the time they left Zouk at Jiak Kim Street around 4am that night.

A couple approached Mr Low’s cab along Kim Seng Road, which was in the queue for passengers. But before they could board it, Fritsch entered the car while his 41-year-old friend stood outside. Fritsch told Mr Low to take him to Balestier but the driver refused and told him to get out of the taxi, because the couple had got to his taxi before him.

DPP Teo said in court, “The accused then replied that the victim should fetch him as he pays $40,000 in taxes to the Singapore government every year and he should therefore have the first priority,” .

Fritsch refused to get out of his vehicle and when Mr Low finally concurred to take him to his destination, Fritsch refused to give him the details of where exactly he lived. When Mr Low turned around to inform the German that he was calling the police, Fritsch punched him. Fritsch was arrested five days later.

Read ST’s earlier report on how a regular serviceman was sentenced five weeks in jail for punching man who took his drunk wife home.