SINGAPORE: A man followed an 18-year-old girl home as he found her "cute" when he saw her on the train, later molesting her outside her flat.
For his actions, 24-year-old Malaysian Cheah Chan Yung was sentenced on Monday (Apr 22) to jail for a year and two months, along with one stroke of the cane.
The court heard that the victim caught Cheah's eye at about 10pm on Jul 21 last year while they were both on the East-West Line.
He saw that she "dressed well" and "found her cute", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Rebecca Wong. He felt attracted to her and fantasised about kissing and hugging her, repeatedly stealing glances at her.
Cheah tailed the young woman as she changed lines at Paya Lebar MRT Station, alighting at MacPherson.
He took the same bus that she did, sitting a few seats behind her, and alighted along with her, before stalking her through void decks of HDB blocks.
He did not do anything as he saw that there were closed-circuit television cameras in the area, said the prosecutor.
At the victim's block, Cheah rushed into the lift that the girl was in as the doors were closing, pressing the button for the fifth floor, while the girl had pressed the seventh-floor button.
After exiting at the fifth floor, Cheah took the stairs two floors up where he took out a black trash bag from his pocket that he intended to cover her face with while he molested her.
The young woman was walking towards her flat at the seventh floor when she heard heavy footsteps and saw Cheah rushing towards her.
Alarmed, she ran to the door of her flat, but Cheah caught up with her and gripped her upper arms, before molesting her.
The woman tried to resist and in their struggle, she fell to the ground. He stuffed his fingers into the victim's mouth as he did not want her to alert others to what was happening.
The woman bit down on his fingers, drawing blood, and screamed.
The woman's younger sister later rushed out of the flat and shouted at Cheah, who stopped and turned to look at her.
The police were called and the victim went to hospital, where she was diagnosed with multiple ulcers and a swollen lip, along with bruises on her arm and knee.
FORTUITOUS THAT VICTIM HAD RESISTED STRONGLY: PROSECUTION
Cheah pleaded guilty to one charge of using criminal force to outrage the victim's modesty and another of voluntarily causing hurt, with a third charge taken into consideration.
The prosecution had asked for 15 months' jail and three strokes of the cane, noting that Cheah had taken steps to avoid detection and ensured that there were no passers-by or CCTV cameras before attacking the victim.
She added that it was fortuitous that the victim had put up such a strong resistance to Cheah, which prevented him from sexually assaulting her.
Cheah's lawyer Lee Wei Liang said Cheah's touch was fleeting and over the victim's clothes, and said that the victim's injuries were "minor" and a result of Cheah "panicking".
He added that his client was a first-time offender and had stayed at the scene, waiting for the police to arrive.
District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt agreed with the prosecution that there was a high degree of premeditation in the case, which was particularly aggravating.
He said he agreed on a lengthy jail term and caning, but would calibrate it slightly downwards to take into account the mitigation and the guilty plea.