Molester's image helped arrest

Benjamin Tan Jook Min was sentenced to 27 months' jail and four strokes of the cane for molesting a woman last year.
Benjamin Tan Jook Min was sentenced to 27 months' jail and four strokes of the cane for molesting a woman last year.

Talk about being caught on camera.

Benjamin Tan Jook Min, 38, thought he could outsmart the law by taking a meandering route to his Chin Swee Road flat after molesting a woman near his home. He figured that route would avoid all security cameras.

But what Tan did not know was that his image had been captured by security cameras even before the act. And it took police two days to trace him to his home, where he was arrested.

Yesterday, Tan, who runs an events company, was jailed for 27 months and ordered to receive four strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to outraging the 27-year-old woman's modesty on Aug 2 last year.

Tan had spotted the victim as he was walking around Havelock Road after supper at about 2.30am.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said: "The accused... decided to follow the victim after seeing her at the traffic-light junction because he developed a temptation and urge to touch her on her buttocks."

He tailed the woman, who was on her way home from work.When she paused to look for her mobile phone, Tan hid behind an advertisement board near a bus stop. When he saw a chance to move in, he slipped on a pair of work gloves he was carrying in his backpack, ran towards her from behind and covered her mouth with his left hand. During the ensuing struggle, he molested her after pulling her onto the ground.

But she managed to grab hold of her bag and hit his face with it. She then ran towards Chin Swee Road. She alerted the police at about 3am and went to the Singapore General Hospital, where she was found to have sustained bruises on her forehead, left shoulder and right thigh.

Tan, who lives in Chin Swee Road, then took a longer walk home, hoping to avoid CCTV cameras. Two days after the offence, officers arrested him. DPP Kavita said: "The actual incident was not caught by any CCTV camera. The incident location was not well lit."

Yesterday, DPP Sruthi Boppana urged the court to sentence Tan to 30 months' jail with six strokes of the cane, stressing that the offence was premeditated.

But his lawyer, Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, asked that Tan be jailed for two years with three strokes of the cane, saying his actions "were unexpected and were completely out of character". For molesting the woman, Tan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2017, with the headline 'Molester's image helped arrest'. Print Edition | Subscribe