SINGAPORE: A 35-year-old man was sentenced to five years in jail and 10 strokes of the cane on Thursday (Jan 12) for physically restraining and molesting two teenage girls in lifts in separate incidences spanning four years.
Dexter Louis Wong evaded arrest in November 2012 after he molested a 14-year-old schoolgirl he had followed into an empty lift, after spotting her walking home.
Once Wong and the victim were alone in the lift, he grabbed her and covered her mouth and ran his hands over her body and private parts.
When the lift doors opened on the 10th storey, Wong ran out, intending to flee via the stairs. But he quickly realised there were no stairs on the 10th floor and ran back into lift, where the victim still was.
As the lift continued to ascend, Wong sexually assaulted her again.
The girl exited the lift on the 14th floor, and pressed the button from outside to keep the doors open so Wong could not flee. However, he pushed her to the ground and managed to get away.
Four years later, in September 2016, Wong preyed on his second victim, a 17-year-old. He trailed her as she walked home from a bus stop at about 10.10pm and followed her into the lift.
As the teen exited the lift on the 8th storey, Wong followed her and grabbed her, wrapping his arm around her neck and sliding his hand up her skirt. The teenager screamed and struggled but could not free herself from Wong’s grip.
Wong fled to a nearby block of flats and removed his shirt, knowing there were CCTV cameras around which had likely captured him fleeing the scene.
He was arrested the next day.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo sought a jail term of at least five years and 12 strokes of the cane, calling Wong “a menace to society” for targeting vulnerable victims and restraining them using “considerable force” before molesting them.
Wong’s lawyer Edmond Pereira said his client had committed the offences “out of despair and frustration” at life.
Mr Pereira also pointed out Wong had no “skin to skin” contact and had touched both victims over their clothes and panties “for only a few seconds”, urging the court to be lenient with Wong, who is unemployed but a frequent gambler and has a history of depression.
In a letter to the court, Wong wrote: “This is the most painful lesson in my life, to see my family suffering and struggling as a result of my foolish actions.”
Wong is married to a Vietnamese woman and they have a two-year-old daughter.
For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a victim, Wong could have been jailed for between two and 10 years and caned.
For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a victim in a lift, Wong could have been jailed for between three and 10 years and caned.