SINGAPORE — Two parents in-law who wanted to record an argument between each of their children ended up triggering a family brawl involving five family members.
One of the parents in-law, Chen Limin, was fined $5,000 on Monday (4 October) after he pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to his former son-in-law Zhao Ting by hitting his head with a glass cough syrup bottle.
Chen, a 66-year-old Chinese national, is the father of Chen Xu Jia, a 38-year-old Singaporean. Chen Xu Jia was married to Zhao, a 40-year-old Singaporean. The two, both of whom were in the scuffle, are now divorced.
The other persons involved in the fray were Zhao’s mother, Ding Xia, a 68-year-old Chinese national, and Zhang Lin, a 66-year-old Chinese national who is Chen Xu Jia’s mother and Chen’s wife. Chen had a charge of violating the expedited order issued by a Family Courts judge on 22 October 2018 taken into consideration for his sentencing. The order was taken out by Ding to prevent Chen from using violence against her.
At the time of the brawl, the five family members lived together in a Compassvale unit, along with Chen Xu Jia and Zhao’s two daughters.
Parents in-law wanted to record argument
On 21 January 2019, the estranged couple, Chen Xu Jia and Zhao, got into an argument over their younger daughter, who had a fever. Zhao carried the girl into the master bedroom and argued with his wife.
Chen and Ding heard the argument and entered the master bedroom with their mobile phones intending to record the argument. In order to get a better view, the two parents in-law shoved each other, attracting Zhao’s attention.
Zhao then pushed his former father-in-law Chen’s chest, triggering an all-out brawl among the family members, which spilled onto the corridor outside the master bedroom and another room.
Zhao punched Chen in the head, eyes, chest, and bit the older man’s forearm and his left ear. Chen retaliated by hitting the side of Zhao’s head with a glass cough syrup bottle. The bottle did not break.
Ding and Chen Xu Jia were also part of the fray. Zhang, who was attracted by the commotion entered the master bedroom and was also pulled into the fight.
Chen Xu Jia was previously sentenced to one week’s jail for voluntarily causing hurt to Zhang, who suffered bruises to her cheek and right eye, which she could not open due to swelling. She also sustained facial fractures.
Zhao had bruises over his head, superficial lacerations and tenderness over his chest elbow and hand.
Chen had a laceration over his ear, bite mark with swelling on his right forearm, and a facial fracture, amongst other injuries. Chen Xu Jia had bruises and abrasions.
Ding and her son, Zhao are currently claiming trial to their charges.
Father felt 'unable to protect' daughter: Lawyer
Chen’s lawyer Chung Ting Fai, told the court that Chen was resting in the living room when he heard his daughter Chen Xu Jia cry for help. The father then entered the room and attempted to record the argument between the now-divorced couple.
In the 12-year marriage between Chen Xu Jia and Zhao, Zhao would often initiate the argument, said Chung.
“Our client instructs that he was hurt seeing his daughter being treated that way by her then husband and even more so after the said incident. Our client felt that he was unable to protect his daughter and his wife, and this haunts him to this very day,” added the lawyer.
Chen, his wife, and their daughter have since moved out of the unit to prevent further altercations.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Chen may have been jailed for up to two years, or fined up to $5,000, or both.
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