Serial offender molested teenager in latest crime, given 5 years' corrective training

SINGAPORE - A repeat offender who committed his latest offence when he followed a teenager into an HDB lift and molested her after she exited, was sentenced to five years' corrective training and three strokes of the cane on Tuesday.

Hamzah Hambali, 29, had pulled his victim by the hair and touched her breast after she went out of the lift at an HDB block at Ubi Avenue 1, just after midnight on May 2.

She screamed. But Hamzah persisted, grabbing her by the waist and kissing her.

He then pushed the 17-year-old onto the ground. She went to the hospital for a check later the same day and was found to have bruising on her arm and tenderness on her chest, where pain is felt when pressure is applied to the chest.

Closed circuit camera footage had captured only the two taking the lift, and Hamzah's push on the girl.

Hamzah claimed in court that he had intended only to push the girl, but was convicted on Dec 2 after a trial of one and a half days.

Passing sentence, District Judge Liew Thiam Leng considered, among other things, Hamzah's long list of previous convictions dating back to 1999.

These include vandalism, housebreaking and voluntarily causing hurt. They have led Hamzah to be placed in a juvenile home, jailed and caned.

Corrective training is a tough prison regime for repeat offenders without remission for good behaviour.

For outraging his victim's modesty and restraining her in the process, Hamzah could have been jailed for between two and 10 years, and caned.