Commonwealth MRT cobbler, 42, jailed for raping schoolgirl, 13

SINGAPORE - A 42-year-old cobbler befriended a 13-year-old schoolgirl and even asked her parents if he could be her godfather. But within two weeks, he was having sex with the girl.

Terence Ng Kean Meng was sentenced on Wednesday to 14 years in prison and 14 strokes of the cane, after he admitted to three counts of statutory rape and and penetrating the underage girl with his finger.

Ng had first noticed the Secondary 1 student in October 2013, when she started loitering around his makeshift stall outside Commonwealth MRT.

When he approached her on Oct 17 and offered to take her home, she told him she was afraid to return as she had run away.

After taking her back to her family, Ng spoke with the victim's mother and discovered she ran away often. He then offered to be the girl's godfather and take care of her.

The victim began meeting Ng almost daily at his stall, hanging out with him until late at night. He also started taking her to his Tanglin Halt flat. During this time, he became attracted to the girl.

On the evening of Oct 29, Ng and the victim were alone in his flat when she said she had stomach problems. Ng rubbed ointment on her stomach and then asked her if she wanted to have sex. She  agreed and they had sex that day.

Over the next two months, they had two more trysts - in his flat and an ancestral temple on Commonwealth Lane.

After the victim's mother died on Dec 9, her father ordered her to cease all contact with Ng.

Depressed about her mother's death, she confided in someone at school and was told to file a police report about Ng, which she did on Feb 7, 2014. Ng was arrested four days later.

For each charge of raping a girl under the age of 14, Ng could have been jailed up to 20 years and also liable to a fine or caning.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg