Ride-sharing driver

Probation for molesting passenger

An Uber driver stroked a woman's thigh in his vehicle as he found her pretty and was attracted to her exposed thigh, a district court heard.

Yesterday, Ng Chee Hong, 27, was given 18 months' probation by District Judge Low Wee Ping after admitting to molesting the 25-year-old victim last Sept 25.

However, the probation order was stayed as the prosecution is considering filing an appeal.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong had sought at least eight weeks' jail to be imposed to send a strong signal. "There is an overriding public interest in the protection of commuters to have a safe ride home, and what is at issue is public safety," she argued.

She also said there is a growing prevalence in the use of online ride-booking apps, and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab.

"The drivers of these vehicles should be treated no differently from taxi drivers," she added.

Although Ng was diagnosed with frotteurism - a disorder in which a person derives sexual pleasure from touching or rubbing a non-consenting person - DPP Wong said that Ng was still able to control his actions.

The court heard that the victim, who was wearing shorts, used the Uber Pool app to book a ride at about 8.15pm last Sept 25.

She boarded Ng's vehicle near Old Choa Chu Kang Road and sat in the front passenger seat as Ng had to pick up another passenger.

After the male passenger alighted, Ng drove to her destination at Bukit Panjang MRT station.

She was unbuckling her seat belt when she saw Ng use his left hand to stroke her right thigh. Outraged, she quickly alighted and subsequently lodged a police report.

Ng, represented by Mr Che Wei Chin, could have been jailed, fined, caned or received any combined punishment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2017, with the headline 'Probation for molesting passenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe