Man gets seven years' corrective training and 12 strokes for molesting girl, 12

SINGAPORE - Just two months after his release from prison, Mohamed Shariff Samsuddin again committed a similar offence.

The 31-year-old was sentenced to seven years' corrective training and 12 strokes on Thursday, for molesting a girl in a public toilet.

Shariff had noticed the 12-year-old victim waiting at a bus stop in Bedok, on March 6 at around 7am. He decided to follow her up the bus.

He alighted together with her at a bus stop opposite Bedok Community Centre. Shariff saw the victim removing her cardigan, which she wore over her school uniform.

He approached her and told her she should remove her cardigan in a toilet. He then took her hand and led her to a toilet for the handicapped at the community centre.

While they were inside the toilet, Shariff locked the door and sat on the toilet seat. He asked the victim to sit on his lap and she complied.

He then began using both his hands to caress her breasts.

The victim said that she wanted to leave the toilet but Shariff prevented her from opening the toilet door.

He allowed her to leave only after she started shouting.

Shariff was arrested on March 11.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Ee Kuan called for a stiff sentence as Shariff was a recalcitrant offender who targeted young girls. He had previously been convicted twice for similar offences and his third offence showed a "disturbing downward trend", he said.

In passing sentence, District Judge Liew Thiam Leng said he considered that the victim is of a very young age, like in his previous offences. He also said that corrective training was an appropriate sentence as it was his third time offending and that he may commit a similar offence again.

Corrective training is a tough regime for repeat offenders with no remission for good behaviour.

For outraging the modesty of a woman, Shariff could have been jailed up to two years, fined and caned. For committing an offence against a minor under 14 years of age, he could have faced imprisonment up to five years, fined and caned.

miranday@sph.com.sg