Cabby jailed over lewd remarks to female passenger

He continued with his obscene comments even while driving her to a police station

A 66-year-old cabby was jailed for two weeks for repeatedly making lewd and suggestive remarks to his teenage passenger during a 20-minute taxi ride. PHOTO: ST FILE

A 66-year-old cabby repeatedly made lewd and suggestive remarks to his teenage passenger during a 20-minute taxi ride, a court heard.

Ong Guan Seow persisted with the suggestive comments, even while he was driving the 19-year-old victim - at her request - to a neighbourhood police centre (NPC).

The victim was so traumatised that both a friend and her father said her voice was trembling when she called them from the taxi close to midnight on Feb 7 last year.

Yesterday, Ong was jailed for two weeks for his crime.

He was found guilty of one charge of insulting the modesty of a woman after a five-day trial.

The victim, a student who is now 20, had boarded Ong's taxi at Teban Gardens with a male friend.

Ong was told to go to the Home Team Academy in Choa Chu Kang to drop the friend off, before driving the victim to her home in Sembawang.

After the friend had got out, Ong tried to engage the victim in conversation for the next 20 minutes. Speaking in Mandarin, he said: "You're so sweet, you send your boyfriend back to camp."

He then told her lewd tales and later made indecent proposals, saying he could stop by the side of the road.

Afraid, the victim messaged her father and the friend she had dropped off.

She also told Ong her father was a policeman and that he was waiting for her outside their home.

Later, when the friend's call to the victim was put on speaker mode, he asked the cabby why he was making lewd comments.

Ong replied that he was teaching the victim some "life experience". The friend could hear him laughing.

After an argument, Ong agreed to take the victim to a police station, thinking that the outcome could not be worse than his losing his job.

When the victim's father arrived at Yishun North NPC, he found her crying in a room.

An investigation officer testified the victim was in tears and looked "a bit traumatised", while Ong "appeared to be sleeping" in a chair.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Daphne Lim asked for not less than three weeks' jail, noting that Ong was a public transport worker who had abused the trust placed in him.

Ong showed no remorse during his trial, she added. He also alleged that the police investigation officer had abused her authority and deceived him into signing his statements as well as fabricating parts of the statements.

DPP Lim said: "The offence took place in the confined space of a taxi in the late hours of the night, while the victim was left alone with (Ong), and the victim was placed in a heightened sense of fear as a result of the words uttered by (Ong).

"The fact that she alerted both her friend and her father, and was in tears by the time she was at the NPC, is indicative of the helplessness and fear that was instilled in her by (Ong's) disgusting conduct."

The maximum punishment for insulting the modesty of a woman is one year's jail and a fine.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline Cabby jailed over lewd remarks to female passenger. Subscribe