SINGAPORE — After asking a woman for directions outside Lavender MRT station, an elderly wheelchair-bound man groped her buttock.
About six months later, 64-year-old Let Hwa Khoon wheeled himself behind another woman at the same station and lifted her skirt to reveal her underwear.
Let, a Singaporean, was jailed for 16 weeks on Monday (15 March), after pleading guilty to two counts of molest. Let's jail term was enhanced as he committed both offences while on remission from a previous jail sentence for drug consumption.
Both victims' names cannot be published due to a court imposed gag order.
At around noon on 25 June last year, Let approached a 24-year-old woman while she was standing outside the Lavender MRT station, close to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building.
He asked for directions to the MRT station in Mandarin and the woman responded by pointing towards a nearby escalator. Realising he was in a wheelchair, she then directed him to an elevator to the station instead.
As she leaned over to show him the way, Let grabbed the woman's buttock.
"After the first victim used her hand to hit the accused’s hand away from her butt cheek, the accused wheeled himself away. The first victim stood still for a while as she was shocked before she decided to chase after the accused," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamini Joseph.
She added that the woman managed to take a photograph of Let before he left the scene in the direction of the ICA building. The woman then called the police while crying. Let was later identified through footage of the incident caught on a CCTV camera.
On 17 January this year, Let used a top-up machine at the same station. Using another machine beside him was his second victim, a 40-year-old woman, and her young son. As Let wheeled himself away, he turned around to look at the victim.
He then wheeled himself directly behind the woman and grabbed the edge of her skirt. He then lifted the skirt past her back and exposed her underwear. The woman immediately turned around and confronted Let. As he tried to flee, Let was stopped by an MRT staff member that the victim sought assistance from. This incident was also caught by CCTV cameras at the station.
In asking for the jail term that was eventually imposed, DPP Shamini described Let's offences as "brazen", given that they took place in broad daylight and he had deliberately asked one of the victims for help before molesting her.
DPP Shamini also cited Let's criminal history dating back to 1993, including snatch theft, fraudulent possession, and drug offences.
For molest, Let could have been jailed up to two years, fined, or both. While the offence carries the possibility of caning, Let cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old.
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