Ex-ICA officer who sexually harassed and molested colleague jailed 8 months, 2 weeks

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
(Photo: Getty images)

He blatantly asked a female colleague to be a casual sex partner and made racy comments about their private parts while they were on duty. Undeterred by her rejection, he grabbed her breast when they were in a lift just over two hours later.

The 19-year-old woman shouted at him for touching her but Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer Chan Wai Meng persisted in molesting her by stroking her thigh while both of them were on duty in a cubicle.

Chan, 23, was sentenced to eight months and two weeks’ jail on one count of insulting the woman’s modesty, and two counts of using criminal force to molest the woman. The prosecution had asked for a minimum nine-month jail term. Two other charges – one of tapping the woman’s waist and one of swiping his hand over the woman’s breast – were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Chan and the female colleague had been working in the same zone for some three months. On 23 November last year, both Chan and the woman were assigned to the same cubicle for their night shift duty to inspect travellers.

At around 4.15am the next day, as the two were working, Chan began sexually harassing his colleague by telling her about his previous sexual encounters. He also made suggestive comments about his and the colleague’s private parts.

Chan then asked for her bra size and began guessing by suggesting a few cup sizes. He then asked her if she wanted to be “friends with benefits” so that they could have casual sex. The woman kept quiet and Chan told her that she had until 5.30am to think about his suggestion. When Chan asked her for her decision at 5.30am, the woman said she had a boyfriend.

Instead of stopping, Chan began pestering the woman about her relationship and again mentioned  his sexual experience. He asked if she had shaven her private parts and mentioned that he shaved his. Feeling annoyed by the question, she said yes in the hope that Chan would stop talking but he persisted in talking about sex.

A few hours later, after both had taken a break and were returning work through a lift, Chan stood behind the woman and began to massage her shoulders for a few seconds. Chan then groped the woman’s breast over her clothes. Shocked, the woman raised her voice at Chan. She ignored him when they returned to their shared cubicle.

When the duo were in their cubicle at 7.08am, Chan chose to sit beside the woman even though he was on duty. Instead of opening his counter, he focused his attention on the woman. He stroked her thigh twice over her pants while she was serving travellers who went though her counter. The woman pushed Chan’s hand away, telling him that he should not be touching her without her consent.

According to the prosecution, Chan saw that the woman did not like her breast being touched while they were in the lift, so he wanted to see her response if he were to touch her thigh. The woman, who felt disgusted and outraged by Chan’s advances, confided in her boyfriend after work and later made a police report on his advice.

The incident resulted in Chan’s resignation from ICA after working there for almost a year. He now works as a security officer in a hotel.

His lawyer T M Sinnadurai said that his client was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when he was 10, which led to him being “over-friendly and intrusive to his classmates”.

A report by a private consultant in psychological medicine stated that Chan had an emotional age that “seemed lower than his chronological age of 24”. His poor communication skills compared with his peers of the same age had in turn affected his social skills, the report added.