Man with walking difficulty molested girl as she helped him to cross overhead bridge

SINGAPORE - Taking advantage of a teenager's kindness, a man with walking difficulties molested the 16-year-old helping him cross an overhead bridge in Bukit Timah.

Yong Kiam Khim, 59, hugged and kissed his victim on the cheek, and stroked her breast.

On Tuesday, Yong, who is jobless, was sentenced to three months' jail after pleading guilty to using criminal force to outrage the teen's modesty on April 10.

A similar offence committed in September last year, when he put his arm over a 20-year-old woman's shoulder and held her hand on a public bus, was taken into consideration.

The court heard that in the April incident, Yong had put his hands on his victim's shoulder and waist, and held on to her arm, after she agreed to help him across the bridge along Dunearn Road.

Now 17, she continued to support him down the stairs after he had hugged and kissed her, thinking he had just been grateful. But Yong continued trying to kiss her.

At one point, when they paused by the railing to rest, he held on to her waist, and pressed his body against hers.

This was when she broke free and called her boyfriend, who rushed over and called the police.

Yong had boarded a bus and left, but was caught as the couple had taken down the vehicle's registration number.

Passing sentence yesterday, District Judge Victor Yeo noted that Yong had persisted with his advances towards his young victim even though she had told him to stop.

He had also molested her while out on police bail for the earlier offence.

Considering other factors including Yong's physical condition, however, the judge said he was prepared to "exercise a measure of compassion".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lau left the length of Yong's jail term to the court but highlighted that nine months was the benchmark punishment.

Pleading for leniency, Yong's lawyer S.S. Dhillon said his client was suffering from "old age-related ailments". He also cited a medical report that said Yong has a neurological condition and a history of cervical myelopathy, or damage to the part of the spinal cord that is in the neck.

These left him weak in his lower limbs and with an unsteady gait.

Yong could have been jailed for up to two years and fined, but cannot be caned as he is above 50.

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