Operations executive jailed, caned for molesting 10-year-old girl and trespassing into her home

Neo Chip Wei was sentenced to two years and three months' jail, and three strokes of the cane.
Neo Chip Wei was sentenced to two years and three months' jail, and three strokes of the cane.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A day after molesting a 10-year-old girl, an operations executive loitered along the corridor of her home and entered the flat to cause annoyance.

Neo Chip Wei, 32, was given two years and three months in jail and ordered to receive three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Feb 22) for touching the girl at the side of her body on Oct 31, 2016, and trespassing into the flat the next day.

Investigation showed the victim was walking up a flight of stairs at her block in Woodlands when she noticed Neo looking at her.

He caught up with her and molested her at the corridor, tickling and poking at the side of her body until she arrived at her unit.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong said the next day the victim was at home when her 12-year-old sister saw Neo walking past the bedroom window slowly while staring at them.

When the sister informed her, the victim raised her head and saw Neo. She recognised him and told her sister about the incident at the staircase.

Both were scared and ran to another room to hide.

While hiding, they realised their unit's gate was unlocked and ran out of the room to check. They saw Neo running out of the kitchen and their unit.

The victim related the incident to her mother who took her to make a police report and Neo was arrested on Dec 8.

Neo had a similar conviction in 2013 for aggravated molestation with two other charges taken into consideration.

Citing aggravating factors, DPP Wong said Neo was clearly undeterred by his previous three-year and three-stroke sentence for molesting and restraining a 12-year-old girl in a lift.

This time, he not only targeted a younger victim but followed her to her unit. He then returned the next day to look for her.

Neo had admitted to an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist he was sexually aroused after touching the victim.

Neo was found to have a "history of organic personality disorder and presents with prominent paraphilic features that includes paedophilia voyeurism, fetishism and transvestism (cross-dressing)" and his risk of re-offending is at least moderate to high.

Pleading for leniency, the National University of Singapore School of Computing graduate said he committed himself to community causes and voluntary work after his release from prison in 2015.

He said he was determined to turn over a new leaf but the root cause of his disorder was not diagnosed, and the primary problem, not addressed.

He said he hopes to receive appropriate treatment while in prison.

District Judge Low Wee Ping, who backdated his sentence to Dec 10, said if he could use one word to describe the facts, it was "scary".

"If I were the victim and the sister, I would have been terrified, extremely terrified," he said.

He said the protection of these young children must be paramount, and the court would pass a specific deterrent sentence severe enough to express its abhorrence and disapproval on the harm he had caused to the two sisters.

Neo could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned or received any combined sentence for molesting a person under 14 years old. The maximum penalty for criminal trespass is one year's jail and a $3,000 fine.