MRT harasser has drinking problem: Lawyer

Gan Thean Soo (above) was caught on video (right) asking an American man on an MRT train to have sex with him in April last year, and turned violent when the victim said he was not gay.
Gan Thean Soo (above) was caught on video asking an American man on an MRT train to have sex with him in April last year, and turned violent when the victim said he was not gay.PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, INTERNET
Gan Thean Soo (above) was caught on video (right) asking an American man on an MRT train to have sex with him in April last year, and turned violent when the victim said he was not gay.
Gan Thean Soo was caught on video (above) asking an American man on an MRT train to have sex with him in April last year, and turned violent when the victim said he was not gay.PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, INTERNET

A 71-year-old business development manager caught on video asking an American man to have sex with him has a drinking problem and is estranged from his children, a district court heard yesterday.

Gan Thean Soo's lawyer, Mr Philip Loh, told District Judge May Mesenas that his client used to go to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to address problems relating to his alcohol consumption and mental state. But Gan later stopped going for the treatment sessions.

Mr Loh, who did not give details about Gan's psychological problem, added that his client's relationship with his son and daughter soured around 2005 after Gan sold off a piece of land worth about $2 million to repay a loan. The lawyer pleaded for his client to be given either a fine or a community-based sentence such as a day reporting order. He stressed that Gan is truly remorseful and wishes to apologise to the victim, Mr Joseph Flynn De Marini, 25.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shenna Tjoa, however, urged the judge to sentence Gan to two weeks' jail and a fine. She added that an IMH report last December said he was not significantly intoxicated when he committed the offences and "was fully aware of what he was doing".

DPP Tjoa also said Gan had committed the offences while using public transport, in full view of other commuters. Gan pleaded guilty on April 20 to one count each of harassment and assault. One charge of being a public nuisance will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that Mr De Marini boarded the train with a Singaporean friend, Ms Li Zixin, 20, at Chinatown MRT station at around 8.15pm on April 19 last year and sat opposite Gan in the same carriage.

Gan stared at the American and later told him: "I like you. I am gay."

He also propositioned the young man. He became angry when Mr De Marini and Ms Li chided him for being rude, and started hurling vulgarities at the American.

He turned violent when Mr De Marini said he was not gay and slapped the young man.

Yesterday, Judge Mesenas called for a report to assess Gan's suitability for a community service order. Offenders given such an order have to perform supervised community service for a period of time.

She also called for a report to assess his suitability for a day reporting order, which is administered by the Singapore Prison Service. Offenders given this order have to go to a day reporting centre for monitoring and counselling, and undergo rehabilitation.

Gan is out on bail of $8,000 and is expected to be sentenced on June 12.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline 'MRT harasser has drinking problem: Lawyer'. Print Edition | Subscribe