*This article was updated at 6.47pm on 26 October 2020
SINGAPORE — The trial for a 74-year-old traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner accused of molesting a female customer began on Monday (26 October).
Lim Ah Bah, who worked at a TCM clinic located in the Tanjong Pagar area, faces two charges of molesting the 41-year-old victim while supposedly treating her to improve her blood circulation.
The 74-year-old also faces two counts of insulting her modesty, by asking her to apply lubricant on her genitals, telling her to have sex with her boyfriend and indicating that they should perform certain sexual acts. The victim cannot be named to protect her identity.
In the prosecution’s opening statement, Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh said that Lim had abused his position as TCM practitioner to gratify his lust.
Victim thought accused was ‘capable’
All the offences allegedly took place on 1 October 2018.
The victim, a business manager, testified that she had visited the clinic for the first time a week earlier for a type of Chinese massage known as tuina to treat her cough.
During the session, Lim massaged the victim’s upper torso, claiming that her cough was caused by her low blood pressure due to a supposed blockage in her system.
Using massage oil, Lim then massaged the victim while making skin-on-skin contact.
The victim said that to her surprise, her cough cleared up in three days after the treatment.
As it was rare that her cough to be cured so fast, the victim felt that Lim was “capable” and decided to return to him on 1 October for a consultation and treatment to improve her blood circulation.
This time, Lim allegedly asked the woman if she had a boyfriend. He also suggested that her boyfriend have more sex with her and perform a certain sexual act to help clear a “blockage” in her system.
Offended, the victim told Lim not to “talk nonsense” and asked to continue with the treatment.
When Lim indicated that he would massage the victim’s vaginal area with a gel, the victim declined, saying that she could do it herself.
Lim then lifted the victim’s singlet to perform the massage, a cupping service, and acupuncture on her upper torso. He then applied powder to her breasts and sucked on her nipples, according to the victim.
After the session, the victim went home to conduct research but could not find any TCM treatment that involved what Lim had done.
Feeling angry that Lim had taken advantage of her ignorance, the victim called him the next day to confront him. A recording of the conversation was played in court, with Lim insisting that his method was part of medical practice.
During cross examination, Lim’s lawyer Tan Hee Joek put his client’s case to the woman: that Lim had not touched the victim’s breasts, and that she was the one who told him problems with her private parts.
Tan suggested that the victim had had told Lim she had not been married before and that she had not breastfed any children.
“You also told my client that your nipples were sometimes hard and they felt itchy and painful during menstruation,” said Tan to the woman. The woman replied that she had never said that.
Tan also said that the victim was the one who asked Lim if having her nipples sucked would help her problem, and if having sex was good for health. The woman disagreed with both these statements.
According to Tan, Lim had told the victim that sucking on her nipples might help if the procedure was accompanied with an application of herbs. Tan noted that Lim had also said he would not be able to provide such a therapy without the presence of a nurse or a member of the victim’s family.
“He told you that (the act) can be done by a family member or by her boyfriend with the use of (expensive herbs),” said Tan. In response, the woman said that Lim had only mentioned her boyfriend.
Tan also suggested that Lim had not touched the victim’s nipples with either his hand or mouth, to which the woman vehemently disagreed.
The trial resumes on Wednesday.
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