SINGAPORE - After telling a nine-year-old girl that she was cute, an unemployed man touched her head and kissed her on the lips, a court heard.
The victim, who was wearing her primary school physical education attire, tried to push Neo Beng Yeow away but did not manage to. The 51-year-old managed to kiss her again.
He then tried to carry her but a woman whom he had panhandled earlier for money stopped him.
On Tuesday (May 30), Neo was jailed for 15 months after he admitted to kissing the girl's lips, touching her head, shoulder and buttocks at a bus stop in front of a block at Rivervale Crescent in Sengkang on March 1 this year.
As he is above 50 and cannot be caned, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim imposed another eight week's jail in lieu of four strokes of the cane. She backdated his 15-month and eight-week sentence to March 3.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Gail Wong said sometime before 3pm that day, the informant, a woman in her 20s, was walking past a bus stop on her way to Rumbia LRT at Rivervale Drive when Neo asked her for money, claiming that he had lost his wallet.
The woman ignored him and continued walking towards the LRT station. From the second level of the station, she looked down and saw Neo standing at the bus stop. She then saw him kissing the victim and grabbing the girl's buttocks.
She ran towards them.
The girl had been waiting for the bus after school when Neo told her she was cute and molested her. An Indonesian woman, who was passing by, also saw what Neo did to the girl before the informant pulled the girl away from him.
When detained, Neo claimed that the victim was his niece, which was untrue. Another male passer-by came up to assist.
Police came and arrested Neo. The girl's mother was notified and also came down to the scene, where she saw the victim crying out of shock by what Neo had done to her.
DPP Wong had sought a jail sentence of at least 18 months, including a term of imprisonment in lieu of caning.
She said the circumstances in which the offence was committed were "inherently reprehensible'', and Neo's behaviour was brazen and outrageous.
There was a significant degree of force used on the victim, and some degree of pre-meditation, she said.
"This was not a situation where the accused had fleetingly touched the victim but was a persistent attack to outrage the victim's modesty,'' she said.
Neo, whose last conviction was for mischief by fire, could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined for molesting a person under 14 years old.