SINGAPORE - A young man was spared a prison sentence and given a shot at rehabilitation after molesting five young girls in two housing estates last year.
Ng Lin Kun, 21, then a full-time national serviceman, was found to have an IQ of 75 which is in the borderline intellectual disability range.
A probation officer had initially not recommended him for probation but found him suitable in a further report following a psychological assessment on Ng.
The prosecution had sought reformative training - which ranges between 18 months and three years behind bars - for Ng, given aggravating factors in the case.
Ng had admitted to three of five counts of molesting girls aged between 10 and 17 in Jurong West housing estate between March and July last year.
A district court had heard that Ng approached a 10-year-old girl walking along a corridor of an HDB block on March 9 last year. He wanted to befriend her, and asked if she had a boyfriend and whether he could hug her. She rejected him and walked away.
He then grabbed her from behind, pulled her to the rubbish chute area and molested her. She struggled and broke free.
A month later on April 9, he followed a 13-year-old girl from the lift when she exited. He asked for her contact number and whether she had a boyfriend.
The girl ignored him. He hugged her, grabbed her breast and kissed her on the cheek. Shocked and outraged, she ran to seek help while he ran down the stairs.
The court heard he molested a 17-year-old polytechnic student by grabbing her arms, kissing her on the lips and grabbing her breast over her clothes in a lift at Jurong West on July 31. He had waited for when he saw her returning home from school.
The victim ignored him and walked to her flat. After placing her school bag, she closed the main door intending to go downstairs to open the letter box. She saw Ng still waiting for her. He then entered the lift and molested her.
Ng, represented by Mr Anil Singh, was arrested by the police in August last year.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong ordered him to undergo 24 months' probation, remain indoors from 11pm to 6am, perform 180 hours of community service and continue with his counselling and treatment. His parents and wife signed a $5,000 bond to ensure his good behaviour.
Ng, who works as a warehouse assistant, could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned or received any combined punishment for molesting a girl below 14 years old. The maximum penalty for molestation is two years' jail, fine and caning.