Man jailed and ordered to be caned for aggravated molestation and loan shark harassment

SINGAPORE - A man terrorised a newly arrived domestic worker by restraining and molesting her inside a Housing Board lift.

Ahmed Lutfy Sarry, 31, admitted to hugging the 23-year-old Indonesian maid on the waist and squeezing her breasts inside the lift in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 on Nov 23, 2016.

Two-and-a-half months later, he helped a friend, known as Faizal, to cause annoyance to debtors in Punggol Place and Toa Payoh by splashing yellow paint at their flats' doors and gates and defacing the walls with loan shark graffiti, causing damage to property.

On Tuesday (Jan 9), he was sentenced to a total of four years and three months’ jail plus nine strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to aggravated molestation and one charge of loan shark harassment. His sentence was backdated to June 8 last year.

Another loan shark harassment charge was taken into consideration during his sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said the Indonesian maid had arrived in Singapore about a month before the incident. She was going to a nearby shop on Nov 23, 2016, when she stepped out and re-entered the lift on the third floor. Lutfy entered the lift and stood at the door. He asked her where she was from and she told him "Indonesia".

When the lift door opened at the ground floor, he stopped her from leaving by blocking the entrance with his body and hands. He pressed the lift button for the sixth or seventh floor.

When she tried to reach for the lift button, he grabbed her wrists, and pushed her to the back of the lift and tried to hug her. He pressed against her as she struggled to release herself from his grip. He put his arm over her shoulders and continued to hug her from behind while still holding onto her wrist.

When the lift door opened, she shouted for help but Lutfy grabbed, and molested her before eventually releasing her. He muttered "maaf, maaf'', which means  "sorry, sorry" in Malay, as she ran out.

In the harassment case, DPP Asoka said that some time in February last year, Lutfy's friend Faizal offered him a "job" as a loan shark runner. Faizal told Lutfy to splash paint and write on the wall outside the homes of debtors in return for $100 for each "job".

Faizal subsequently handed him two small cans of paint, a red marker pen, a mobile phone and a piece of paper containing two addresses.

On Feb 6, Lutfy carried out the harassment at the Toa Payoh flat by splashing paint on the door and gate and defacing the wall outside by writing the words "O$P$" and "Hendry".

In passing sentence, District Judge Marvin Bay said he noted with deep concern that Lutfy had re-offended very quickly after his release from prison in March 2016 by committing a spate of heinous offences.

"He terrorised a hapless domestic helper for a prolonged period of 45 seconds, while he was alone in a lift with her. She had very explicitly spurned his advances, but he had persisted to impose his will on her, preventing her from leaving the lift, and proceeding to violate the private areas of her body,'' he said.