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The Straits Times
May 15, 2023
A policeman molested two of his female subordinates on separate occasions when they were on duty, and was caught after sexually assaulting one of them in front of their colleagues.
Before this, the man had made lewd remarks to the same victim and outraged her modesty at a team-bonding event.
The policeman, who committed the offences between 2015 and 2019, was sentenced on Monday to nine months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to three counts of molestation and one count of insulting a woman’s modesty.
Seven other charges were considered during sentencing.
Details about him, both victims, their workplaces and their ranks cannot be disclosed due to a gag order.
He targeted the first victim in August or September 2017 while on patrol with her.
At the time, he was driving a police operational vehicle while she sat in the front passenger seat with a mobile data terminal (MDT) on her lap.
Officers use this device to perform tasks like relaying “live” information of ongoing operations and investigations.
On two separate occasions, the policeman picked up the MDT from the first victim’s lap when the vehicle stopped at traffic lights.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yong said the offender used criminal force on the woman by touching her inner thighs near her crotch, over her uniform.
The policeman did not say anything to her each time he picked up the MDT. Instead, he simply glanced at the device.
After the second time, the policewoman felt very uncomfortable, then moved the MDT away from her lap and placed it elsewhere in the vehicle.
The offender targeted the second victim when they were answering a call for police assistance between 8.40pm and 9.50pm on Oct 25, 2015.
The woman was bending over through an open door of their operational vehicle to retrieve some documents when he made a lewd remark.
DPP Chong said: “(She) heard the accused’s remark and felt deeply uncomfortable as she interpreted it to be a comment that was both sexual in nature and insulting towards her modesty.”
The pair were at a team-bonding event in November 2015 when he molested her.
They were at a neighbourhood police centre at around 7.30pm on May 5, 2019 and were waiting to draw their weapons near an armoury when the policeman grabbed her thigh with both hands.
DPP Chong said other officers nearby saw this.
He said the woman was shocked, and she quickly got up and moved away when he let go of her thighs.
Court documents did not disclose what happened next but an investigation into the policeman’s actions started soon after.
During investigations, the second victim said she did not feel safe in his presence at their workplace.
On Monday, DPP Chong asked for the policeman to be given between nine months and a year in jail, stressing that the offender was the victims’ superior at work.
The DPP added: “He is not above the law and needs to be punished appropriately.”
Defence lawyer Azri Imran Tan from IRB Law pleaded for the policeman to be given between 6½ months’ and eight months’ jail.
Stressing his client deeply regrets his actions, Mr Tan said: “The defence accepts that no person should have to go to work in fear of being sexualised.
“Our client recognises he was wrong, can only apologise, and admit said wrongdoing.”
In a statement to The Straits Times on Monday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said it will start internal action against the offender following his conviction.
Its spokesman added: “Officers of (SPF) are expected to uphold the law and maintain high standards of discipline and integrity. We deal severely with officers who break the law, including charging them in court.
“The police were notified...in August 2019 and promptly commenced investigations against the accused. Counselling support was offered to the two victims.”
The offender’s bail was set at $15,000 on Monday and he is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on June 6 to begin serving his sentence.