Man molests student, hours after being fined for setting fire to neighbour's clothes

SINGAPORE - Less than a day after being fined $2,000 for setting fire to his neighbour's clothes, an unemployed man diagnosed with having "poor impulse control" molested a 14-year-old girl in a lift.

Phui Jun Ming, 22, followed the student into it and squeezed her breast as the lift was ascending.

On Tuesday, Phui was sentenced to nine months in jail and ordered to be given one stroke of the cane after pleading guilty to outraging his victim's modesty in the early hours of June 13 last year.

His total jail term comes to a year and includes punishment for setting fire to a stack of newspapers at a staircase landing a week earlier.

Phui also pleaded guilty to touching a 28-year-old woman's leg through her bedroom window from a common corridor. A further charge, of molesting a 31-year-old woman in a lift on May 25, 2014, was taken into consideration.

Community Court Judge Mathew Joseph noted a medical report that said Phui was not suffering from any mental disorder but had intelligence in the borderline low range. This predisposes him to poor impulse control and loss of judgment, the report said.

On June 12 last year, Phui was fined $2,000 after pleading guilty to mischief in the corridor of Block 502, Jelapang Road on Dec 22, 2013. Then a waiter at karaoke chain K-Box, he had used his lighter to spark clothes hanging on a pole to "destress" after a shift. He was also ordered to pay $150 in compensation to his neighbours for the damage caused to their property, which included other items from another charge.

In 2006, Phui was convicted of outrage of modesty and placed on 24 months' probation.

He will start serving his sentence on Feb 24, after the judge granted his request to defer this to after the Chinese New Year holidays. He is out on $15,000 bail.

For each count of molestation, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined and caned.

pohian@sph.com.sg