SINGAPORE — A man who handcuffed and blindfolded a girl for a photoshoot before molesting her was sentenced to six months’ reformative training on Thursday (28 January).
Alaric Lim Qixian, a 21-year-old full-time National Serviceman (NSF), provided the props for the photoshoot and had offered to tie the then-13-year-old girl up in a “test run”.
Sentencing Lim to reformative training instead of probation, District Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said that it was “particularly worrying” that Lim continued to “minimise and downplay responsibility” for the sexual exploitation offence.
“As noted in both his psychological probation and reformative training reports, he continues to deny his intention and externalise responsibility for his action. At its highest, it shows a lack of candour on his part, at its lowest, it reflects a lack of insight into his offence,” the judge said.
Lim had told a probation officer that he had continued to check on the wellbeing of the victim during the shoot.
The offences were serious as they involved several sexual transgressions, one of which involved sex exploitation of a child, DJ Sripathy-Shanaz said. She also cited the “escalating” pattern of Lim’s offending from a non-contact sexual offence to one that involves contact.
These factors “mandated” a greater emphasis on deterrence, and reformative training would be able to achieve both objectives of deterrence and rehabilitation, the judge ruled.
Reformative training is a rehabilitative sentencing option for offenders between 14 and 21. Unlike probation, reformative training results in a criminal record. A person undergoing reformative training remains in a Reformative Training Centre for the period of his sentence.
Lim had earlier pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act with the then-13-year-old child, a breach of the Children and Young Persons Act. He was then an NSF with the Singapore Civil Defence Force. He also admitted to two counts of insulting the modesty of a woman by recording upskirt videos of two women.
The teenage victim cannot be named to protect her identity.
Lim came to know her in March last year through a cosplay event. They exchanged Instagram details and began chatting over the platform.
During their conversation, Lim claimed that he was a photographer and offered to do a private shoot for her. He sent her several pictures featuring skimpily dressed women, which he termed “risky”.
The girl refused the offer, but indicated that she would be interested in a private photoshoot involving bondage. She told Lim that there should be no shots of her naked and Lim assured her he would not take such photos. She also said she had no preference for the type of props.
Lim offered to let the victim had a trial run after her school ended on 22 May 2019. He suggested doing the shoot in a handicapped toilet at a relatively isolated area.
On 22 May 2019, the girl met Lim at Plaza Singapura wearing her school attire, a black T-shirt and shorts. They went to a handicapped toilet on the fourth floor of Plaza Singapura where they spent the first 15 minutes playing a mobile phone game.
After the game, Lim produced a black rope which he tied around the girl’s clothing. He then placed a black blindfold over her eyes and handcuffed her hands behind her back with a pair of black leather handcuffs.
He then used the opportunity to molest her. Although the girl felt shocked and disgusted, she did not shout for fear of being harmed. After a while, Lim stopped and removed the bindings on the girl. He asked the girl if she was fine and she nodded.
The girl returned home and took a shower immediately, feeling disgusted by what she had experienced. She told her mother about the incident and lodged a police report the next day after school.
Lim was arrested on 23 May 2019 and his handphone seized. A forensic examination revealed three upskirt videos, which he took in January 2018. He recorded the videos at Bukit Panjang MRT while following two women up an escalator.
For committing an indecent act with a child, Lim may be jailed up to five years, or fined up to $10,000. For insulting the modesty of any woman, he may be jailed up to one year, or fined, or both.
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