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The Straits Times
Dec 19, 2022
A paedophilic driver committed sexual offences involving several children, including an autistic boy and a girl who was an alleged victim of physical abuse.
Separately, Gary Alexander Tan, now 68, molested a friend’s child while her mother was asleep nearby. He also befriended maids, including one whom he later persuaded to send him sexually explicit pictures of her employer’s young daughter.
Tan, who is married and has three adult children, pleaded guilty on Monday to six charges, including multiple counts of molestation.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En said: “The accused is the stereotypical nightmare of any parent who has a young child.
“Behind the facade of a cheerful, kindly and garrulous elderly bus driver hid the insatiable lust of a depraved sexual predator.”
Tan started his crime spree in 2006 when he spent the night at a friend’s home and molested her daughter, who was then between three and five years old, while the woman was sleeping nearby.
In 2009, he drove a seven-seater car to ferry passengers.
A kindergarten later engaged him to transport children with special needs. In 2011, an autistic boy, whom he found to be cute, became one of his passengers.
Though Tan’s contract ended in 2012, he continued to be engaged privately by the children’s parents to take the youngsters to and from school.
The boy was between four and six years old when Tan first targeted him. Between 2013 and 2014, the boy was released early from kindergarten. While he was in the front passenger seat, Tan made the child perform a sexual act on him. Tan committed similar offences against the boy between 2013 and 2014.
The offences were reported when the boy began to display sexualised behaviour. However, as he was autistic, he was non-verbal and unable to talk about the offences.
On May 4, 2016, Tan rang up a maid whom he had befriended and offered her some food. She met him with her employer’s daughter, whose age was not mentioned in court documents. The maid went behind Tan’s vehicle to eat after he volunteered to take care of the girl.
He took the girl to the front cabin of the vehicle and took an upskirt shot of her as well as pictures of her sitting on his lap. The maid later retrieved the girl, oblivious to what Tan had done.
He also asked two other maids he had befriended to send him sexually explicit pictures of little girls. One declined, but the other agreed after he told her such pictures would arouse him. The DPP said Tan was in a sexual relationship with her.
On at least 22 occasions between May 5 and Nov 1, 2016, Tan instigated the maid to send him explicit pictures of her employer’s prepubescent daughter. On at least another eight occasions, she also sent Tan 51 photos of another prepubescent girl and three photos of her employer’s prepubescent son naked.
The ages of the three children were not disclosed in court documents.
After becoming a school bus driver in 2017, Tan used a nine-seater van to ferry children who had been victims of alleged acts of abuse. DPP Chong said Tan knew they were under care arrangements and he had signed an undertaking to safeguard information linked to them.
One of them was an eight-year-old girl who had allegedly been physically abused and, as part of her care arrangements, had to live with her aunt and maternal grandparents.
After dropping off the other children on Jan 12, 2017, he molested the girl and took a video of himself committing the offence. He molested her again on Jan 16, 2017, and shot a video of the acts.
DPP Chong said: “As he caressed her, the accused indicated he did not want her to be ‘angry with him’ and wanted her to be ‘happy’ with him.
“He indicated that what had happened between them was ‘between you and me’. He indicated that he ‘loved her’ and asked if she loved him. She said she did not know and giggled.”
Three days later, he showed the girl pictures of himself clad in underwear.
Later that month, the girl felt uncomfortable about what Tan had done. She told her aunt and grandparents, who alerted her mother.
The mother alerted the police on Jan 26, 2017. Officers arrested Tan later that day and seized his phone, which contained upskirt videos of many victims.
The girl later said she felt “very scared” about the incidents and was ashamed talking about them. She had nightmares up until October 2017 about people attacking her or her family.
On Monday, DPP Chong urged the court to sentence Tan to up to 14 years’ jail and 18 strokes of the cane.
As Tan is over 50 years old and cannot be caned, the prosecutor asked for him to be given another nine months’ jail.
DPP Chong added: “The accused’s offences are as disgusting as they are despicable. After each shocking sexual offence, the accused simply continued – he dug deep into a pit of depravity and just kept digging.
“The accused deserves a sentence that will signal the court’s condemnation of his crimes in the strongest possible terms.”
Tan will be sentenced on Jan 27, 2023.