Private tutor 'bent solely on satisfying his selfish lust' jailed for molesting 2 of his male pupils

Samuel Devaraj
The Straits Times
Nov 3, 2023

A private tutor who molested two of his male pupils was sentenced to 53 months’ jail on Friday.

Sou Kum Choi, 57, pleaded guilty on Friday to one charge of molesting an 11-year-old boy in 2018 and consented for three molestation charges against the same victim to be taken into consideration during his sentencing.

In August, he was convicted after a trial on two other charges of molestation against the second victim, who was between 10 and 12 years old at the time of the alleged offences, which occurred between 2014 and 2016.

Deputy public prosecutors Jane Lim and Adelle Tai described Sou’s behaviour as reprehensible and had asked the court to impose a sentence of 50 to 54 months’ jail, and another 3½ months’ imprisonment in lieu of eight strokes of the cane.

Sou cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old.

The prosecutors highlighted his previous conviction in 2006, when he was convicted on three counts of outrage of modesty for having molested another minor under the cover of private tuition. He served a 10-month jail term for that case.

The DPPs asked for the sentence for his latest offences to “reflect society’s degree of disapprobation towards such heinous conduct, to deter like-minded offenders from ever venturing down the same path, and deter the accused himself from ever tormenting another child”.

The DPPs said Sou was introduced to the first victim’s parents by their neighbours and he started tutoring the boy in June 2015.

Sou taught the victim English, mathematics, science and Chinese and had classes about two to three times a week at the victim’s home.

The lessons would either be held in a bedroom or in the living room, and the victim’s grandparents would usually be present.

From April 2016 to April 2018, the accused had molested the victim at least 20 times.

He had also kissed the victim on the cheek on at least four occasions, starting from early 2019. Sou tried to kiss the boy on six other occasions but was unsuccessful as the victim quickly moved away.

The offences came to light on June 22, 2019 – three days after the last molestation incident – when the victim disclosed to his mother that Sou had touched his arms, legs and thighs during their tuition lessons.

As the victim told his mother about Sou’s actions, he started crying.

The next day, he went with his parents to lodge a police report.

Sou was the private tutor of the second victim when the boy was in Primary 4 to Primary 6. He would tutor the boy up to three times a week and the classes were held in the boy’s room.

The pair would sit next to each other at a study table with the room door closed.

The prosecutors told the judge: “Bent solely on satisfying his selfish lust, the accused made sexual advances against the victim.”

Sou stroked the boy’s thigh on one occasion.

During the trial, the victim, now a teenager, was asked why he did not shout for help to alert anyone about what was happening.

He replied that he was confused and was “not sure of what was going on”.

The DPPs said that this is understandable given that he was only between 10 and 12 years old at the time.

Sou, who was represented by lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya, had denied stroking the victim’s thigh.

Instead, the offender claimed that he only tapped his pupil’s leg because the boy was distracted by his Pokemon cards or mobile phone.

For each count of molesting a child below 14 years old, Sou could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.

The Straits Times

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