SINGAPORE - A "spiritual healer" molested at least four women on the pretext of performing massages or exorcism rituals on them, a district court heard on Friday (March 13).
Ab Razak Ab Hameed, who ran a shop selling second-hand bicycles, also took photographs and videos of the women's exposed upper bodies without their consent. Details about the shop's location has been redacted from court documents.
The 66-year-old Singaporean, who moves around with a walking frame following a knee replacement surgery, pleaded guilty to two counts each of molestation and insulting a woman's modesty. These four charges involved two women.
Five other similar charges involving his other victims will be considered during sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Chan said that Ab Razak performed massages and exorcism rituals on a foldable bed that was behind a curtain in the shop. He did not charge for these services.
The court heard that a 39-year-old woman had gone to his shop unaccompanied for a chat on May 25 last year. She had previously been there with her husband on six other occasions, during which the "healer" would only press the victim's hands and feet to check on her pulse.
On May 25, Ab Razak told the woman that he could perform a ritual to protect her against "black magic".
When she agreed, he asked her to sit on a chair and close her eyes. After that, he lifted the woman's shirt and bra, exposing her breasts.
DPP Chan said: "The accused's actions shocked and scared the victim. However, she allowed the accused to continue with his actions as she thought that the acts were part of the said ritual."
Ab Razak then applied oil to her breasts. During the ritual, the woman opened her eyes momentarily and saw him fiddling with his mobile phone.
Investigations revealed that Ab Razak had been using the device to take a video and several photographs of the woman's exposed body. He also used the mobile phone to capture himself molesting her.
Just a month later, on June 29, he re-offended when a 34-year-old woman visited his shop with her mother.
He told the second victim that she was "possessed" and that he could perform an exorcism ritual on her. He also told the woman to keep her eyes closed throughout the ritual and asked her mother to wait outside the shop while holding a Styrofoam cup.
He led his victim to the foldable bed and asked her to wrap a sarong around her torso. Ab Razak then molested the woman while she was lying face up on the bed.
The DPP said: "(She) opened her eyes momentarily and saw the accused holding a mobile phone that was pointed in her direction. She quickly closed her eyes again.
"He later told the... victim and her mother that the 'spirits' were in the Styrofoam cup... and that they should flush its contents down a toilet."
The victim lodged a police report soon after.
On Friday, DPP Chan urged Second Principal District Judge Victor Yeo to sentence Ab Razak to at least 15 months' jail, noting that the offender had made skin-to-skin contact with both victims.
Defence lawyer Gregory Fong, who pleaded for either a fine or not more than six months' jail, said that his client has difficulty walking. Mr Fong also told the court that Ab Razak needed help when eating and cleaning himself.
Judge Yeo adjourned the case as he wanted to know if the Singapore Prison Service has the capability to manage Ab Razak's medical issues. He will be sentenced on April 24.
For each count of molestation, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned. Ab Razak cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old.