Singapore GrabHitch driver faces jail term for molesting women inside his car

Singapore man, a GrabHitch driver, who molested two women was sentenced to 22 months of jail term on Tuesday

A 39-year-old GrabHitch driver preyed on two more women in October 2018 and this year he was jailed for 22 months on Tuesday, December 17 after pleading guilty to three charges of molestation. Two similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing. As per the court documents, the man was convicted of molestation in 2015.

First female victim

While boarding the GrabHitch, which is a carpooling service where passengers can book a ride with non-commercial drivers for a fee, a 46-year-old victim noticed that rear doors were locked. The convict, Tan Keng Leng who is married with a daughter, told her to sit in front as he had files on the back seat on October 12 last year. When the vehicle was on the Pan-Island Expressway, she felt that Tan's elbow was touching her arm.

During the court hearing the Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling said that the victim thought it was accidental and shifted her body to the left. But later, the accused again touched the right side of the victim's breast at least four times.

Second female victim

Almost an hour later, Tan picked his second victim who also had to sit in the front of the vehicle. While the car was on East Coast Road, Tan shifted his body closer to the 24-year-old woman and used his elbow to touch her inappropriately. Later, she shifted away from Tan, who then started talking to her while gesturing with his hand. His finger also touched her breast many times after the car went over a bump.

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Court hearing

DPP Goh urged for at least 12 months' jail for each charge, as the convict was a public transport worker who has some responsibility of ensuring the safety of passengers. On the other hand, defence lawyer T M Sinnadurai said Tan was diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, work stress and low marital satisfaction.

Singapore law for molestation

Section 354, which criminalises the offence of the "assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty", an offender is liable to a jail term of two years, which may extend based on the seriousness of the offence, or a fine, or with caning, or a combination of the abovementioned punishments.

Section 354A similarly imposes stiffer sentences against offenders in 'outrage of modesty' cases which involve offences committed in lifts, physical threats, voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint and death.

Related topics : Singapore crime