Man convicted of molesting 2 school girls several times while walking past them

Photo for body part hand
Photo for body part hand. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — On three different occasions, as two teenage girls were walking to school, an elderly man would molest them by touching their body while passing by them.

The molest came to an end after the man’s fourth attempt to touch one of the girls in the same manner on 21 May last year. The two 14-year-olds then discussed the past incidents and decided to report his actions to the police.

The man, 69-year-old Chinese national Fu Zhide, was convicted of three charges of molest and one charge of attempted molest on Tuesday (8 December).

Fu, who has been in Singapore for over six years, had claimed trial to all four charges. He claimed that the touches on two of the occasions had been accidental, that one of the incidents had not happened, and that it was a case of mistaken identity on the last occasion.

The victims, who cannot be named to protect their identity, would take a bus every morning to their school.

After alighting, they would walk to school when they encountered Fu, who would be decked in a polo T-shirt and carrying a tote bag.

A few weeks before 21 May last year, one of the girls said she was walking to school alone when Fu, who was heading towards her, used his arm to pat her on her upper front thigh over her uniform.

She remembered Fu was carrying a tote bag and had placed his arm on top of it. She had not believed the touch was accidental as the same man had touched her friend before.

Some time later, the same girl was walking alone to school when she noticed Fu walking towards her on a footpath. He had a tote bag and his arm was placed on top of it. As Fu approached the girl, she noticed his hand moving towards her and she instinctively covered her thigh with her arm.

As a result, Fu only grabbed her forearm and squeezed it lightly for a few seconds.

The third incident involved the other girl, who said that Fu had touched her upper right thigh over her school uniform as he passed by her.

The final incident was on 21 May last year, when Fu encountered both girls. As he approached the girls, he had his hand placed on top of his bag, with his palm facing outward and towards the victims.

One of the girls noticed Fu moving closer to her with his palm facing her direction. She moved away so that Fu was unable to touch her. CCTV footage captured Fu pulling his hand back slightly.

The girl then told her friend, who was to her left, that Fu had touched her and asked if she should report him to the police. The two turned around and followed Fu, with the friend taking two photographs of Fu to provide to the police.

The two girls then headed to Sengkang Neighbourhood Police Station to report about the incidents after one of them informed her form teacher.

When asked by a police officer about the incident on 21 May last year, Fu claimed “nothing happened” and that as he was walking to work and his bag had accidentally hit someone. During the trial, Fu denied the offences, claiming that he had not stretched out his hand.

Fu said he had been walking along the path in the mornings for about two years and would exercise care while on the move due to his age. He said during his trial that he would step aside if he saw an obstacle in his path.

But video footage shows Fu deviating from his path on one occasion and walking towards one of the victims. Fu admitted that he would apologise if he knocked into people, but he had not apologised to the girls as he claimed he had bumped into them.

Fu is expected to be sentenced on on 22 December.

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