SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi construction worker was jailed for 27 months and given three strokes of the cane on Wednesday for molesting several domestic helpers.
Md Hira Dhali Abdul Hossain Dhali, 29, pleaded guilty to five charges involving four maids, whom he targeted in HDB lift lobbies and outside condominiums in the Sengkang and Punggol area.
A court heard that around noon on Jan 23, he had followed a Filipino maid along Sengkang West Avenue while she was returning from grocery shopping.
He grabbed the 31-year-old's bra strap and pinched her right elbow. Although she scolded him, he continued to follow her and demand her phone number.
On reaching the block where she lived, the victim had to wait at the lift lobby while Hira kept trying to engage her in conversation.
When she was entering the lift, he touched her right buttock, then reached through the lift doors and grabbed her right breast before running off.
Hira struck again on April 25 in an Edgedale Plains lift lobby, this time attacking a 40-year-old Indonesian maid who was also returning home with groceries.
As she was going up to her employer's apartment, he slipped into the lift and asked her if she wanted a boyfriend. The victim rejected him, but he suddenly hugged her from behind and forcibly kissed her.
The victim put up a struggle, so Hira hit several buttons in the lift, causing it to go up and down and stop at different floors. The victim tried to flee each time the doors opened, but Hira restrained her.
While they fought, he grabbed both her breasts and also forced her to touch his genitals over his jeans. The lift finally stopped at the 16th floor and the victim managed to escape when a neighbour entered the lift.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee had previously called for a jail term of two years and six months to three years, along with three strokes of the cane.
He had pointed out that Hira had attacked four different women and engaged in a protracted struggle with at least one.
Hira, who was unrepresented during his sentencing, sat with his head bowed in the dock throughout. In mitigation, he said through an interpreter that he was very remorseful and needed to return to Bangladesh as soon as possible to look after his mother.
For each count of outraging modesty, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined, caned, or any combination of the above.
For wrongfully restraining his victim to outrage her modesty, he could have been jailed between two and 10 years, and caned.