I cant believe this shite happened!!
Hot News // Monday, August 29, 2005
Singapore race team in Sepang bust-up
Ian De Cotta In Sepang
A Singapore motor racing team, whose crew allegedly attacked a Malaysian team and their boss, had to be escorted out of the Sepang F1 Circuit by police after their paddock was surrounded by angry rival supporters.
The incident took place at about 1am on Sunday as the teams were packing up, two hours after the completion of the gruelling 12-hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance race for high-performance cars.
The Singapore team, Falken ST Power, took third place behind Team Rueben Wong in Class A of the endurance race.
According to eyewitnesses at the Sepang paddock, about eight to 10 members of ST Power raided Team Rueben's hospitality room and assaulted team owner Mr James Wong and four of his crew, after locking them in. The Malaysians were assaulted for about 20 minutes in front of their horrified wives and girlfriends. Witnesses said the Singaporeans hit Mr Wong on the head with a coffee table.
The Team Rueben boss, who is in his 50s, bled profusely from an 8cm gash and had to be attended to by a circuit doctor after his attackers, who were in their 20s, fled the scene. He was later sent to a hospital for further treatment.
ST Power, one of six Singapore teams that took part in the weekend event, faces the possibility of being banned from taking part in future races in Malaysia, an official said. Sources said a Singaporean man is expected to be charged in a Malaysian court.
Mr Wong's wife, Ms Rina Cheong, who helps in managing the team, was stunned.
"How could they assault an old man? They are not sportsmen, they are hooligans," she told Today.
According to Ms Cheong, the attack came after Mr Wong had picked up a brake pad, not realising it was hot, and thrown it away in pain. It landed close to ST Power's garage, which was two doors away.
"They accused us of trying to cause trouble, even though we told them it was an accident," said Ms Cheong. "But they were not satisfied and raided our hospitality room a while later. And to think we had a driver and quite a number of Singaporeans on our own team.
"They ended up apologising profusely on behalf of their countrymen."
Sources at the Sepang race track told Today that some of the crew of Team Rueben were formerly members of ST Power and had left the Singapore team after a falling-out. They were racing against each other for the first time in the event.
When the police arrived, an angry crowd of about 100 people had gathered outside the ST Power paddock, where about 10 members of the Singapore team had locked themselves in. The frightened team members were frantically stripping race stickers off their vehicles to avoid identification before they were escorted out of the circuit by police.
Inspector Effendi of Sepang Police Headquarters told Today that an investigation was under way and that no arrests have been made.
Singapore Motorsports Association president Mr Matthew Lee, who was at Sepang for the race, said that ST Power faces being banned from future races in Malaysia.
"We are in Malaysia to compete as sportsmen and sportswomen and we should wear the Singapore badge with honour," said Mr Lee. "I have apologised to the AAM official and Sepang Circuit officials on behalf of Singapore and would like to assure Malaysians that this is not the way Singaporeans behave. We will conduct our own investigation and will decide what actions to take."