SINGAPORE — Lum Siew Hon molested a 12-year-old boy whom he met inside the male toilet of a public swimming complex.
An hour later, when the boy returned to the toilet after a swimming lesson, he beckoned the boy into a shower cubicle and sexually assaulted him.
The 63-year-old pleaded guilty at the State Courts on Tuesday (31 March), to molesting a person under the age of 14 and two counts of sexually penetrating a minor under the age of 14.
Three other charges of procuring an indecent act with the boy and one count of possessing 30 obscene films and 15 films without a valid license will be taken into consideration during Lum’s sentencing, which is fixed for 15 April.
At the time of the offence, Lum had not been aware that the victim had low intelligence and had learning difficulties but had guessed the child’s age.
Spotted victim in toilet
At about 4pm on 10 November 2018, the boy arrived for his one-hour swimming lesson at the complex.
While changing in the male toilet, the boy masturbated out in the open before going to use a urinal.
Lum witnessed the act and moved to the neighbouring urinal. He then reached out and touched the boy’s penis before walking away. The boy then pulled up his swimming trunks and left for his swimming lesson.
After the lesson, the boy returned to the toilet. Lum, who was still inside, removed his clothes and entered a shower cubicle. He called for the boy to join him and the boy complied.
“The accused did so as he was sexually interested in the victim,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo told the court.
Lum then closed and locked the door. The exchange was witnessed by another 10-year-old boy who simply thought that Lum was the victim’s grandfather.
While in the cubicle, Lum asked the victim to undress before the two performed sexual acts on each other.
After the acts, the victim showered in another cubicle before heading home. He told his mother about what happened later that night and his mother took him to lodge a police report.
Lum was arrested the following day and was remanded for psychiatric evaluation after being charged.
Accused has pedophilic interest: IMH
An Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report stated that Lum had no mental disorder but demonstrated pedophilic interest. In a further report, a psychiatrist noted that Lum had deviant sexual interests and that being attracted to a young teenage male stranger in public was suggestive of sexual re-offending.
Lum was a single male, occupationally unskilled with no life partner and a tendency to keep his private life and interests a secret from his family, suggesting that he could have impaired relationships with adults and that it is a challenge for him to find a sexual partner, the report noted.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong called for a jail term of eight years, along with and six additional months in lieu of 11 strokes of the cane for Lum. Lum cannot be caned as he is above the age of 50.
DPP Wong pointed out that Lum had known the victim was between 12 to 13 years old and had brazenly committed the act in a public place.
“The victim was only 12 years old and just a child when he was molested... The accused also believed the victim to be a child of this age, and had clearly exploited his vulnerability,” she said.
Lum’s lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said that his client was not a predator but rather a person who had taken advantage of an opportunity presented to him. Lum had gone to the toilet to dye his hair and, unfortunately, his “other instincts took over”, said the lawyer.
The lawyer pointed out that the obscene videos that were found on Lum’s phone had not involved gay sex or young persons.
“By all accounts he is heterosexual, his sexual history is heterosexual,” said Sunil, who added that the offence with a young boy was a one-off.
“The accused person is very sorry. He is already 63 years old, due for a hefty sentence... and what’s important now is that there is family support, his family is supportive since the first day I met them. They will take care of him upon his release,” said the lawyer.
The defence lawyer asked for five to six years’ jail for his client.
For molesting a minor under the age of 14, Lum could be jailed up to five years, fined or both. For each count of sexually penetrating a minor, he could be jailed up to 20 years, fined, or both.
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