SINGAPORE - Former National University of Singapore (NUS) lecturer Chan Cheng, who was on the run for 17 years after molesting several teenage boys at a school camp, started serving his jail term of three years and seven months on Friday (March 27).
This came after the High Court dismissed an appeal by Chan, 59, against his conviction and sentence handed down last year for molesting five boys.
Seven other molestation charges involving four other boys were taken into consideration.
In 1999, Chan, then a psychology lecturer at NUS, was consulted by a school on a life skills programme for its Secondary 1 students.
He proposed a programme that would start off with a three-day school camp in June 1999 at Guillemard Camp in Old Airport Road.
As chief consultant, he was present throughout the camp and on the first night, was the only adult sleeping in the room with the victims.
Investigations were triggered after a Secondary 2 student leader who was helping out at the camp saw Chan molesting a boy on the second night.
The student leader reported this to a school official the next morning.
A police report was lodged and Chan was arrested on Nov 27, 1999.
He was due to be charged in court two days later, but absconded to Malaysia.
His employment contract was later terminated by NUS after he failed to turn up for work.
Chan was arrested by Malaysian authorities and extradited to Singapore on Dec 7, 2016. Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao reported in 2018 that he had turned himself in.
During the trial, five victims testified about how he had molested them during the camp.
A district court found him guilty and sentenced him to a total of 43 months' jail, including five months in lieu of caning.
On Friday, his lawyer, Mr Ramesh Tiwary, argued against his conviction, highlighting discrepancies in the victims' testimony, such as the timing of the offences.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew argued that the discrepancies were not material. He said this was the direct result of the fact that the trial could take place only 19 years after the event because Chan ran away.
Justice Chua Lee Ming upheld the conviction, saying that the trial judge's findings were not against the weight of the evidence.