Tissue seller jailed for insulting modesty of teenager

Soh Wee Boon was sentenced to two months in jail after admitting one charge of insulting the 16-year-old's modesty.
Soh Wee Boon was sentenced to two months in jail after admitting one charge of insulting the 16-year-old's modesty.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A tissue seller put on a pink skirt he picked up from a rubbish chute then asked an indecent question to a teenage girl.

Soh Wee Boon, 23, who suffers from a mild intellectual disability, was sentenced to two months in jail on Thursday after admitting one charge of insulting the 16-year-old's modesty at the void deck of Block 118, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, on Jan 18 this year. His sentence was backdated to Jan 21.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Janet George said the girl was walking home from West Mall that day when Soh approached her, calling out "Miss, Miss" in Mandarin.

He was wearing a white shirt and the pink skirt. He sat down on a flight of stairs close to the girl and asked her some questions such as whether a guy could become a girl.

Soh told her to ask him why he wanted to be a girl, then asked if he could expose himself to her. The girl became afraid and walked away. She rang her sister and the police were called.

Soh had had several previous brushes with the law for insulting modesty and obscene acts. He had also been convicted of molestation and criminal intimidation.

Besides mild retardation, an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) psychiatrist diagnosed him with exhibitionistic disorder and features of gender identity disorder, none of which can be treated. He was previously been assessed as unsuitable for a mandatory treatment order.

The court heard that his risk of re-offending is "extremely high" and he needs 24-hour supervision.

Pleading for a lighter sentence, Soh apologised for what he did. He said his elder brother is in prison for killing a woman in 2010, and that his stepfather, who did time for drug offences, had entrusted him to take care of his mother and sister. He said he would adhere to psychotherapy and follow-up treatment at the IMH.

District Judge Eddy Tham said he hoped that Soh would seek treatment and find some meaningful work so that he would not wander around and traumatise members of the public.

Soh had been jailed before for insulting modesty, the most recent occasion being last August when he was given four months' jail. He was previously placed on probation in 2011 for similar offences and for exposing himself.

He could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined for insulting modesty.