Aesthetic doctor gets 3-1/2 years' jail for molesting male patient

Tan arriving at the State Courts yesterday for sentencing, after his conviction last month for drugging and molesting his 33-year-old patient, a Malaysian doctor. Tan had also taken more than 20 photographs which grossly invaded the victim's privacy.
Tan arriving at the State Courts yesterday for sentencing, after his conviction last month for drugging and molesting his 33-year-old patient, a Malaysian doctor. Tan had also taken more than 20 photographs which grossly invaded the victim's privacy. The 50-year-old is out on $40,000 bail pending his appeal against the conviction and sentence.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He committed offences over two days while victim was sedated during liposuction procedures

While performing liposuction procedures over two days on a male patient whom he had sedated, an aesthetic doctor molested his victim.

Tan Kok Leong touched the private parts of his 33-year-old patient - a Malaysian doctor - on multiple occasions over the course of two nights in a hotel room.

The 50-year-old also took more than 20 photographs which grossly invaded his victim's privacy.

Tan, convicted last month of drugging the doctor and molesting him, was sentenced to 3-1/2 years' jail yesterday. He is out on $40,000 bail pending his appeal against the conviction and sentence.

He was found guilty after an 18-day trial of molesting the doctor after twice administering Dormicum and Rosiden to the victim in the course of liposuction procedures at Oasia Hotel, Sinaran Drive, on July 5 and 6, 2013.

The prosecution is appealing against Tan's acquittal of molesting the same victim on June 6 that year at the Life Source Medical Centre in Novena Medical Centre, where Tan was a partner. Life Source Medical Centre has since closed.

Tan, who has been in practice for more than 25 years, claimed in his defence that the acts were committed for clinical purposes. He also said the patient had given his consent for him to carry out the acts in question. But District Judge Siva Shanmugam found that the defence of consent was not made out.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Alan Loh and Assistant Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran had sought a deterrent sentence of at least five years and eight months.

DPP Loh said the doctor-patient relationship induced the victim to trust Tan totally, and to believe that Tan was administering Dormicum for pain relief. The victim, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect his identity, had also regarded Tan as a mentor.

The DPP said Tan had abused his relationship with the victim and his deplorable conduct has brought shame to the medical profession.

Of the more than 20 photographs that Tan took, two were full-length ones that showed the unconscious victim wearing only a T-shirt.

It was fortunate, said DPP Loh, that Dr Gerald Tan, then Tan's partner at Life Source, discovered the photographs and informed the victim, who subsequently lodged a police report. The photos were also found in Tan's mobile phone.

The judge said the offences were premeditated, and the victim was vulnerable and defenceless as a result of being sedated.

He said Tan had not shown any remorse, while the victim had stated that he suffered financially and psychologically as a result of the incident. The stress from the ensuing proceedings took a toll on his relationship with his fiancee.

Tan also appeared to have had scant regard for the victim's safety and well-being by sedating him in a hotel room, outside of a hospital environment, the judge said.

In mitigation, Tan's lawyer Edmond Pereira said his client is a renowned aesthetic doctor here and in other countries. Before his conviction, Tan, who is single, travelled frequently to conduct workshops, seminars and lectures, as well as to see to some of his patients. He was also active in charity work.

Tan could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for outrage of modesty. For administering stupefying drugs, the maximum sentence is 10 years' jail and caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2016, with the headline 'Aesthetic doctor gets 31/2 years' jail for molesting male patient'. Print Edition | Subscribe