Madrasah students in alleged attack are 'steady and calm', says Tan Chuan-Jin

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin (left) and Dr Fatimah Lateef (centre) at Madrasah Al-Maarif Al-Islamiah on April 5, 2016.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin (left) and Dr Fatimah Lateef (centre) at Madrasah Al-Maarif Al-Islamiah on April 5, 2016.PHOTO: TAN CHUAN-JIN / FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The three female madrasah students who were allegedly attacked last Friday are "very steady and calm", Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said on Tuesday (April 5) in a Facebook post.

He had visited the three students and staff at Madrasah Al-Maarif Al-Islamiah on Tuesday morning with Dr Fatimah Lateef, a Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC, where the full-time Islamic religious school is located.

Mr Tan said the three students were "smiling as we chatted".

"They understood the circumstances surrounding the incident and that the Police would be investigating thoroughly. There would probably be a mental health assessment as well," Mr Tan wrote.

"We encouraged the girls to speak up and approach their teachers if they need help. Throughout the episode, the management and teachers of the madrasah have been very understanding and supportive."

A 48-year-old Chinese man allegedly attacked the three madrasah students in separate incidents near Paya Lebar MRT station last Friday. The suspect, security officer Koh Weng Onn, was arrested the next day and charged on Monday in what court papers say was a "racially aggravated" act.

In the first charge, Koh is accused of hurting the teen by kicking her on the right thigh in Paya Lebar Road at 7.22am last Friday.

In the second charge, he is said to have swung a plastic bag containing a filled 1.5-litre water bottle at a 14-year-old girl, a minute later.

The bag hit her on the face as she was walking along the pedestrian pavement by the side of the road.

The third charge accuses him of hurting another 14-year-old girl on an escalator at 7.24am. Court papers say she was on the ascending escalator at the Paya Lebar Circle Line MRT station when Koh, who was on the descending escalator, allegedly swung the plastic bag with the bottled water at her and it hit her on the face.

Koh has been remanded for psychiatric observation. The next mention of the case is on April 18.

The maximum penalty for racially motivated hurt is three years' jail and a $7,500 fine.

If convicted of the other two charges, Koh could be jailed for up to one year and fined up to $5,000 on each charge.