Singapore's entertainment lawyer Samuel Seow Theng Beng pleaded guilty on Monday for beating two of his female staff. The heckling and beating was captured in a CCTV camera at his office at the busy South Brigade Road.
Seow faced one charge each for voluntarily causing hurt and using criminal force. An additional charge of using criminal force and another under the Protection from Harassment Act would be reportedly considered during sentencing.
In a viral CCTV footage, Seow could be seen beating two of his female staff – 21-year-old Rachel Kang Pei Shan and 26-year-old Brenda Kong Shin Ying. Kang was employed as an events executive at Beam Artistes and Kong, who is Seow's niece, worked as a lawyer at the firm.
If convicted, the 47-year-old lawyer – who represented celebrities – would face a two-year jail term or fine up to S$5,000, or both. He can be jailed for three months and fined up to S$1,500 fine for using criminal force.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kumaresan Gohulabalan sought permission from the court to determine if Seow suffered from a psychiatric illness, adjustment disorder and whether that was linked to his offence.
The incident took place in April 2018, after Seow was reportedly upset at Kang for leaving her work incomplete and shouted at her. In a fit of rage, he flicked his finger on Kang's forehead and also shoved a file that she was holding making her trip, DPP Kumaresan Gohulabalan, reportedly told a court.
Following this, Seow loudly asked where the associate director of the firm was but his niece Kong did not answer. When she went near a photocopy machine, he repeated the question and Kong told him the associate director was in a meeting. Then, in anger, Seow demanded why Kong did not answer when he first asked the question. In a bid to protect herself she folded her arms across her chest and in doing so she accidentally touched him.
"He shouted 'Brenda!', before repeatedly saying 'you beat me, you beat me, you dare to beat me'," DPP Kumaresan reportedly narrated.
Seow then pushed Kong back, slapped her and hit her on the head. Other employees intervened and tried to restrain Seow, but he managed to push Kong, further making her fall. After seeing Seow being held by a male employee, Kong left the office. She was reportedly treated for wounds on face, neck and arm.
Kang – who was hit on the forehead by Seow – filed a police complaint against the lawyer in May 2018 he physically hit her several times from the time she joined his office in March that year.
Following the incident, Seow took to Facebook to say people will form an opinion without knowing the entire matter, but there were some "irresponsible and despicable people out there who will take a perverse delight in causing this. I am sorry to my family and friends for the worry this will cause. I am OK. Those who know me will know the truth."
The Law Society of Singapore had said that it would refer Seow to a disciplinary hearing over the case.