Repeat offender jailed 12 months for molesting woman on MRT train

Hannah Teoh
Senior Content Producer
(Reuters file photo)

Observing that the woman seated next to him on the train was drifting in and out of sleep, the man poked her left breast with his finger.

The opportunistic act saw 43-year-old Sean Chew Chee Wan being handed a 12-month jail term at the State Courts on Tuesday (15 May). He had pleaded guilty to one count of using criminal force to outrage the woman’s modesty.

Chew had been aboard an MRT train travelling along the East-West Line on 21 December last year when he molested the woman. A sharp-eyed commuter spotted what Chew was doing and began staring at him.

She also pointed her finger at Chew as a warning. Chew then stopped poking the woman.

As the train approached Boon Lay MRT station, Chew got up and started walking towards another carriage. The woman who witnessed Chew’s actions informed the victim of what she had seen and both women moved to confront him.

Chew alighted at Boon Lay MRT station and tried to flee the scene. He was eventually detained by two passers-by and the police were called.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo said Chew had previous convictions for molest-related offences dating back to 1997. Most recently, he served an 18-month jail term in 2015 for a string of molest offences.

Despite his previous jail term, Chew has demonstrated a pattern of offending, said Quilindo, who asked District Judge John Ng to jail Chew for at least 15 months.

Seeking a jail term of between nine and 10 months, Chew’s lawyer Edmond Pereira said that his client’s offence was an isolated act that had not been premeditated.

The judge pointed out that MRT stations have many warnings about what to do if one is molested. “We need to stop this nonsense,” he said.

Ng added that it was significant that this was the third time Chew had been hauled to court for sexual offences. He also took note of Chew’s Institute of Mental Health report, which said that Chew had no mental impairment with regard to how he acted towards women.

Handing down a jail term of 12 months, the judge warned Chew that if he reoffended, a harsher sentence would be applied.

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