Ex-cabby molested female passenger who fell asleep in back of taxi

Dominic Low
The Straits Times
April 29, 2021

A former cab driver was found guilty on Thursday (April 29) of molesting a female passenger after a trial.

Haji Mohamed Yusoof, 56, had contested a charge of outraging the modesty of the woman, in an incident which happened at about 5.20am on Jan 5, 2019 in Lorong Ah Soo near Upper Paya Lebar Road.

The 30-year-old victim cannot be named due to a gag order protecting her identity.

Raphael Louis, Yusoof’s lawyer, told The Straits Times that his client is a truck driver who was driving the taxi as a part-time job then.

Mr Louis also said his client is no longer working as a part-time taxi driver.

It was not disputed at the trial that the woman had boarded the taxi on the day of the incident and had later fallen asleep at the back of the vehicle.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Chan had argued that Yusoof had molested the victim, after the taxi arrived at a carpark in Lorong Ah Soo.

The DPP said in his submissions that the woman woke up, felt Yusoof’s hands on her body, and shouted at him.

Yusoof then returned to the driver’s seat and dropped her off at her intended destination a short distance away, said DPP Chan.

Yusoof had argued that he had not touched the victim. 

He claimed that he tried to wake her up by calling out at her after the taxi reached the carpark.

Yusoof alleged that he later alighted from the vehicle, opened the rear passenger door and called out at her again.

She then woke up, he claimed.

Delivering his verdict on Thursday, District Judge John Ng noted that Yusoof and the woman had given different accounts of the incident, and there were no other witnesses present.

He found the woman to be a truthful witness and her evidence to be cogent and reliable, while Yusoof to be evasive instead.

Yusoof is expected to be sentenced on May 17.

Offenders convicted of molestation can be jailed for up to two years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of such punishments.

Yusoof cannot be caned because he is above 50.