SINGAPORE: A 51-year-old man befriended a 10-year-old girl on the social media application TikTok, pretending to be 25, before taking her to his house where he molested her.
Jambi Arbi was sentenced to 23 months' jail on Wednesday (Sep 9) after pleading guilty to one count of using criminal force on a minor to outrage her modesty.
The court heard that Jambi, who freelanced in computer-aided design drafting, got to know the victim - a 10-year-old primary school student - on TikTok in late January this year.
They communicated frequently, with Jambi lying that he was 25 and telling her that he loved her and calling her "dear".
On Feb 25, Jambi messaged the victim asking to meet her the next afternoon after she finished school.
She agreed as Jambi said he would take her to a games arcade and he also asked her to bring a shirt along.
The night before the outing, the victim's father checked her handphone and found out that she was communicating with Jambi on the social media platform.
He saw Jambi professing his love to the victim and also read about the proposed meeting.
FATHER ASKED TEACHER TO PREVENT VICTIM FROM LEAVING SCHOOL
The victim's father did not immediately confront the girl as she was asleep, but instead sent a message to his daughter's teacher to tell her not to allow the victim to leave school after class was dismissed.
The next day, the victim's father went to the school at 1.30pm, but could not find his daughter. Later, the teachers told him that she had left earlier and he called the police for help to locate her.
At about 2pm, the victim met Jambi at Yio Chu Kang MRT Station where the accused asked her to change out of her school attire to the shirt she brought and gave her a pair of sunglasses to wear.
He took her on his motorcycle and they ate at McDonald's before going to a games arcade beside it.
The accused then took the girl to his house where he molested her, telling her it would "help her become more flexible" and "gain weight as she was too skinny".
He kept kissing the girl which made her uncomfortable and terrified. She told him she wanted to return home, and Jambi eventually dropped her off at her school.
The girl returned home shortly after the police responded to the case, and Jambi was traced and arrested.
Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren asked for at least 22 months' jail, including two months in lieu of caning as Jambi is above 50 and cannot be caned.
He called Jambi a "sexual predator who preyed on a young and unsuspecting 10-year-old victim for his sexual gratification".
"He used a social media application to find his victim and finally put into action his perverted plan," he said.
The girl was particularly vulnerable and was unable to extricate herself as she was trapped in Jambi's house, he said.
Jambi had also tried to "bribe" the child into accepting his actions by buying her food and bringing her to the arcade, said the prosecutor.
To this day, the girl can clearly remember what happened and is "traumatised" by the incident.
For molesting the girl, Jambi could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.