Man who molested woman on crowded MRT train gets 18 months' jail, 4 strokes of cane

SINGAPORE - She initially thought it was her bag that had rubbed against her due to the crowd and the moving MRT train, a district court heard.

But when the sensation persisted, the 30-year-old looked down and saw Aw Soon Heng using his finger to outrage her modesty. She immediately pushed him away and shouted at him.

On Friday (Jan 5), Aw, 37, was sentenced to 18 months' jail and four strokes of the cane for molesting the woman in the MRT train, and for another charge of stealing a $900 bicycle along a Housing Board common corridor. He pleaded guilty to the two charges with two others taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew said that on Sept 21, 2017, the woman, who was working for an insurance company, was waiting for the train at Ang Mo Kio MRT station to go to work. Aw, who was also at the platform, spotted her and found her attractive.

When the train arrived at about 8.20am, Aw followed the woman and stood close to her. She felt herself being pushed into the train.

Feeling uncomfortable as Aw stood very close in front of her, she angled her body slightly towards the left and used her right hand to cross over her chest, while holding her bag with her left hand.

Along the journey, she noticed Aw breathing very heavily. She also experienced the sensation of being "stroked", which she initially thought was caused by the edge of her bag. When it persisted, she spotted Aw's finger touching her.

After she had pushed him away and shouted at him, he apologised and alighted at the next station, Bishan MRT.

She subsequently lodged a report with the SMRT staff at Raffles Place station.

The other case involving Aw took place on Oct 22, 2016 at around 1am. DPP Chew said that in this instance, Aw went to Block 544 Jelapang Road in Bukit Panjang to steal a bicycle belonging to sales manager Ronaldo Molina Bulaong, even though the 49-year-old Filipino had secured it with a padlock and chain to a metal pipe.

Aw has had previous convictions since 1999 for, among other offences, criminal trespass, insulting the modesty of a woman, theft, outrage of modesty and housebreaking.

DPP Chew highlighted several aggravating factors in the molest case such as the fact that the offence took place on public transportation and the incident had left the victim traumatised. Aw had been convicted of outrage of modesty three times before - in 2005, 2013 and 2014.

District Judge Tan Jen Tse backdated Aw's sentence to Nov 20, 2017.