A dispute over a HK$19.50 taxi fare led to Edward Fordham, a coach with the Hong Kong Football Academy, pleading guilty in Eastern Court yesterday to two charges of assault. Deputy Magistrate Kennis Tai Chiu-ki sentenced Fordham, 45, to 200 hours of community service and warned that any failure to complete it would result in a prison sentence. A police report showed that at about 9.20pm on July 29 last year, Fordham boarded a taxi driven by Kwan Yuk-wah at the junction of Hung Hing Road and Marsh Road, Wan Chai, and asked to be taken to Braemar Hill, North Point. Kwan said the defendant was drunk and had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath. When the taxi reached Victoria Park Road, North Point, near Tung Lo Wan Fire Station, Fordham alighted from the vehicle without paying the fare. The reading on the meter was HK$19.50. Kwan parked his taxi and went after Fordham to ask for the payment. Fordham initially ignored Kwan and kept walking, but he eventually pushed him away, before grabbing Kwan by the neck and striking him with his right fist. The blow resulted in Kwan sustaining swelling to the right side of his face. A passer-by witnessed the incident. Police were called and stopped the defendant farther down Victoria Park Road near Wing Hing Street, North Point. Refusing to show his Hong Kong ID card, Fordham punched police constable Ku Tin in the chest.