SINGAPORE — An unemployed man who was bored and aimlessly took a crowded train ride during the morning peak period molested a female commuter over two MRT stations, a court heard.
Lee Wi Beng, 50, rubbed his crotch against the 26-year-old victim’s buttocks a few times during the journey.
After he was arrested, Lee admitted to having done the same thing previously to three or four other victims.
At the State Courts on Friday (18 October), Lee was jailed for 11 weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to one charge of molestation.
Accused ‘just wanted to pass time’
On 31 May last year, Lee left home at about 7.45am. He headed to Clementi MRT station to “just walk around”, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang.
He took the train to Jurong East MRT station and alighted to take another train. “The accused claimed that he ‘just wanted to pass time’, and that he did this once in a while when he felt bored at home,” the prosecutor added.
“While waiting for the train, he saw the victim and found her pretty. He wanted to approach her to talk to her. When the train arrived, he followed the victim into the train,” said DPP Huang.
Rubbed crotch against victim’s buttocks
At about 8.15am, the victim boarded the train heading towards Raffles Place MRT station. She turned around to face the door. Commuters were standing close to each other as the train was crowded.
Lee positioned himself behind the victim and then rubbed his penis against her buttocks.
The victim felt something hard touching her right buttock after the train left Clementi MRT station (the next station), but she ignored the touch as she thought that the contact was accidental.
“When the train was travelling from Dover MRT station (the next station) to Buona Vista MRT station, the touch on her buttock started to move from one buttock to another, like a brushing motion,” said DPP Huang.
“The brushing motion happened a few times during the ride between the two stations,” added the prosecutor.
The victim turned around and saw Lee standing closely behind her. “She also noticed that there was a bulge at the accused’s crotch area,” said DPP Huang.
The victim held on to one of Lee’s arms, alerted other commuters and called the police.
Victim was distraught and cried
When the train reached Buona Vista MRT station, and while the victim was still talking to the police over the phone, she told Lee to alight with her.
The victim also asked a male passer-by who was about to board the train to hold on to Lee while she continued speaking to the police.
SMRT staff later brought them to the staff office to wait for the police.
“The victim was so distraught by the accused’s acts that she cried as she spoke to the police,” said DPP Huang.
Accused admitted to molesting others
During police investigations, Lee told officers that it wasn’t his first time rubbing himself against commuters.
He said that he had boarded trains travelling from Jurong East MRT station to Buona Vista MRT station and rubbed his penis against the buttocks of three or four other female commuters between March and May last year.
In passing sentence, District Judge Marvin Bay noted, among other things, that Lee had moved with a brushing motion across the victims’ buttocks and that there had been a sustained touch in the train travelling over two MRT stations.
“The court takes an extremely serious view of outrages of modesty perpetrated against victims in the often crowded confines of public transport,” said the judge.
“All travellers in public transport are entitled to feel safe to travel unhindered without molestation or unwanted advances,” he added.
The maximum punishment for molestation is up to two years’ jail along with a fine and caning. Only male offenders below 50 are liable for caning.
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