Two men jailed over separate cases of molestation

After molesting a six-year-old boy at a fast-food restaurant, a 60-year-old jobless man went on to outrage the modesty of a 60-year-old woman on a bus.

Abdul Halim Ibrahim, who is stateless, committed the crime on Sept 9.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to 18 months' jail after he admitted to molesting the boy at the Burger King outlet in Techno Park@Chai Chee.

Another molester, Thomas Seah Thian Seng, 55, was jailed for two weeks yesterday for repeatedly stroking the thigh of a woman on an east-bound MRT train on June 27.

In Halim's case, the court heard that the boy and his brother were sitting at a table near the entrance of the restaurant while their mother went to order food.

Halim walked in to sell tissue paper to patrons. He sat beside the victim and mumbled something that the boy did not understand. He also asked for the boy's age.

He then placed his palm on the groin of the victim, who was wearing shorts, and moved his palm in a circular motion.

The boy's mother saw it and immediately confronted him, but he left before the police arrived.

He boarded a bus in New Upper Changi Road and stroked the 60-year-old woman's buttocks. This charge was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Halim told a psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health that he rubbed the boy to make the latter "feel good". He had a similar conviction in 1990 and has committed several property-related offences since the mid-1970s.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam wanted him to be given an 18-month jail sentence, saying Halim had exploited a vulnerable six-year-old. She also said a deterrent sentence was necessary to quell public disquiet and unease caused by his deplorable offences.

In the other crime, which took place before 11.30pm, the 36-year-old victim, a manager, was engrossed in reading articles on her mobile phone. Seah, who sat beside her, touched her left thigh over her dress with the back of his hand.

When she did not react, he got "excited" and stroked her thigh for 20 to 30 minutes.

He swiftly removed his hand when the victim saw what he did. He pretended not to understand her when she confronted him.

He bolted when they alighted at Tanah Merah station and jumped over the MRT gantry. He was detained by the victim and other passers-by after a chase.

Seah had a similar conviction in 1994. He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined, while the maximum penalty for Halim is five years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'Two men jailed over separate cases of molestation'. Print Edition | Subscribe