Welder jailed three weeks for molesting woman on MRT train

SINGAPORE - A welder who squeezed the buttock of a woman on board an MRT train was jailed for three weeks on Thursday.

Malaysian Yu Ah Ching, 46, pleaded guilty to outraging the modesty of a 23-year-old yoga instructor at Buona Vista MRT station on Oct 4 last year during the evening peak period.

A court heard that Yu and the victim were on a crowded train heading towards Buona Vista MRT station at about 5.35pm that day.

When Yu saw that the victim was alighting, he decided to take the opportunity to molest her.

He stood behind her and used his right hand to squeeze her buttock as they were exiting the MRT.

The victim felt outraged and immediately elbowed Yu. She turned around and shouted at him: "Hey you touched me!"

But Yu ignored her and walked away quickly, hoping she would not pursue the matter further. But the victim continued to follow him, and called the police.

She also managed to take some photographs of Yu before he boarded another MRT train towards Joo Koon.

Yu was subsequently traced by the police and arrested on Nov 28 last year.

Lawyer Gino Hardial Singh, who acted for Yu under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said his client was remorseful and regretted his action.

"It happened on the spur of the moment, and he had fallen into temptation," he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling said the offence was committed on an MRT train, a regular mode of public transport for the masses. A signal should be sent to deter like-minded opportunistic offenders, she added.

"Commuters should feel safe while travelling on public transport,'' she said.

Annual police statistics showed that the number of outrage of modesty cases on board MRT trains and in open areas increased to 1,367 last year, an rise of 3.2 per cent from 2013.

District Judge Christopher Goh backdated Yu's sentence to his remand on May 19, which means Yu should be released on Thursday.

He could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or received any combined punishment.

elena@sph.com.sg