Jail for housebreaker who molested victim

After breaking into an apartment to ransack handbags and steal money, a 44-year-old man molested a teenage girl by touching her left breast.

Wan Yu Chin was yesterday sentenced to 35 months' jail on one count each of housebreaking, theft, loitering and molestation. Another five charges for trespassing were taken into consideration.

The court heard that the 17-year-old Chinese national, who is pursuing her studies here, had stayed overnight in her 42-year-old aunt's home at City Plaza Apartment in Geylang on Aug 17 last year.

She awoke in the morning to see Wan standing over her.

He touched her inappropriately over her clothes before he ran from the room. The victim gave chase but stopped at the door as she was too afraid to continue. She then looked for her aunt and broke down as she recounted the events.

The pair, who cannot be named due to a gag order, found that four of their handbags, which were placed behind the bedroom door and in the wardrobe, had been ransacked and left on the floor. The girl's aunt also lost $370, which was in her purse.

Investigations revealed that Wan had entered City Plaza Apartment the day before. As the building has both commercial and residential floors, its lower floors, where shops operate, are accessible to the public. Access to the seventh to 18th storeys is controlled.

Wan entered the building on Aug 17 and went to the sixth floor, which is the second storey of the building's multi-storey carpark.

He then scaled the parapet leading to the controlled access area on the seventh floor. He checked for unlocked units and found that the victims' unit was not secured. The padlock securing the metal gate was faulty.

Wan was also involved in two other theft cases last year.

On Aug 16, he entered an apartment complex with the intention to break into one of the units but he did not proceed. On Oct 6, he stole $450 from domestic worker Shirley Escodero Gape, 34. The victim woke up in the morning to see Wan standing in her room holding her handbag.

Wan then fled the scene.

For housebreaking to commit theft, Wan could have faced up to seven years' jail, with a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2018, with the headline 'Jail for housebreaker who molested victim'. Print Edition | Subscribe