Serial molester and flasher gets 18 months' jail and six strokes of the cane

SINGAPORE - A serial molester and flasher was jailed 18 months and ordered to receive six strokes of the cane on Friday.

Sean Chew Chee Wan, 41, went on a one-year spree in Jurong West, touching women's breasts and exposing his private parts.

Chew, who was unemployed at the time, faced 16 charges but pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of, five offences which took place in May last year.

He was arrested in September last year, when police officers on a routine check at Boon Lay Shopping Centre spotted him. At the time, he was wanted in relation to molest cases in the Jurong West and Nanyang housing estate.

On one occasion, Chew approached a 23-year-old woman from behind as she was walking under a void deck and grabbed her breast.

Another time, he went up to a 21-year-old woman and said in Mandarin that she had very big breasts. Then he grabbed her breast and gave her a cheeky smile before walking away.

He also exposed himself to a 24-year-old woman at an HDB void deck one afternoon, and did so again to a 16-year-old girl less than two hours later.

In mitigation, Chew's lawyer Edmond Pereira told the court that his client was "under tremendous stress during the period he committed (the) majority of the offences".

Chew, who is single and unemployed, had difficulties holding down a job. His last known employer was Colex Waste Management.

He had been a good student who completed his O levels with 5 As, and received a diploma in business from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

After his national service, Chew helped his father in the carpentry business for ten years.

The lawyer said Chew did not plan his offences, and attributed them, in part, to having "no purpose in life" and as "an outlet for him to vent his anger and relieve stress".

In passing sentence, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim noted that the offences Chew committed spanned a year and there were a total of 16 victims.

Chew also had a previous conviction for a similar act.

He was sentenced to six months' jail and three strokes of the cane 20 years ago for touching a woman's breast on an MRT train. Mr Pereira also defended Chew then.

Chew could have been jailed for up to two years on each charge of using criminal force to outrage the modesty of his victim.

He could have been jailed for up to one year on each charge of producing a gesture to insult the modesty of a woman.

amirh@sph.com.sg