Former canteen operator who worked at school for girls jailed for molesting pupil

SINGAPORE - An elderly canteen operator at a primary school for girls kept raising the stakes when a nine-year-old pupil asked him for free snacks, going from a kiss on the cheek to a hug.

The man, now 71 years old, eventually molested the girl on school grounds.

On Wednesday (Feb 27), the man was jailed for seven months after pleading guilty to one count of molestation.

He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the girl's identity.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo said that the man had given the child free snacks after she told him that she could not pay for them.

The DPP added: "After the victim did this on a few occasions, the accused started asking her to kiss his cheek in return for the free snacks. The victim complied, as she was hungry.

"Thereafter, the accused started asking the victim to enter the stall to hug him in return for free snacks."

The victim again complied, the court heard.

In April 2017, she approached the man for free snacks and he took her to an alley behind his stall where he molested her.

DPP Yeo told District Judge Eddy Tham: "The accused then gave the victim free snacks and the victim left.

"The victim felt shocked and scared as a result of the accused's actions."

The girl later made a police report on May 6, 2017.

Defence lawyer Adeline Goh from Oon and Bazul law firm pleaded for her client to be sentenced to six months' jail, saying it was a "fleeting act" and that the man had committed the offence on the spur of the moment.

Offenders convicted of molesting a child below 14 years old can be jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.

The man cannot be caned, as he is over 50 years old.