Man jailed for insulting modesty of teen, 16

A tissue seller put on a pink skirt he picked up from a rubbish chute and asked a teenager an indecent question.

Soh Wee Boon, 23, who suffers from a mild intellectual disability, was sentenced to two months' jail yesterday after admitting to one charge of insulting the 16-year-old's modesty at the void deck of Block 118, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, on Jan 18 this year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Janet George said the teen was walking home from West Mall that day when Soh approached her, calling out "miss, miss" in Mandarin. He was wearing a white shirt and the pink skirt.

He sat down on a flight of stairs close to her and asked her some questions, such as whether a man could become a woman. Soh told her to ask him why he wanted to be a woman, then asked if he could expose himself to her. She became afraid and walked away. The police were later called.

Soh had had several previous brushes with the law for insulting modesty and obscene acts. He had also been convicted of molestation and criminal intimidation.

Besides his mild intellectual disability, Soh has been diagnosed with exhibitionistic disorder and features of gender-identity disorder - none of which can be treated. He was previously assessed as unsuitable for a mandatory treatment order.

The court heard that his risk of re-offending is "extremely high" and he needs 24-hour supervision.

Pleading for a lighter sentence, Soh apologised for what he did.

He said that his elder brother is in prison for killing a woman in 2010 and that his stepfather, who did time for drug offences, had entrusted him to take care of his mother and sister. Soh also said he would adhere to psychotherapy and follow-up treatment at the Institute of Mental Health.

District Judge Eddy Tham said he hoped Soh would seek treatment and find some meaningful work.

Soh had been jailed before for insulting modesty, the most recent being last August, when he was given four months' jail. He was previously placed on probation in 2011 for similar offences and for exposing himself. He could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined for insulting modesty.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'Man jailed for insulting modesty of teen, 16'. Print Edition | Subscribe