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Singapore

Father of two gets jail, fine and caning for molesting maid while family was on holiday

SINGAPORE: While his family was away on holiday, a married man and father of two children molested the domestic helper who was alone with him at home.

For his offences against the 23-year-old Myanmar national, former Changi Airport air traffic control watch manager Stanley Cheng Kim Han was sentenced on Wednesday (Oct 2) to 11 months' jail, three strokes of the cane and a S$5,000 fine.

Cheng, 44, intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

He had been found guilty of two counts of outraging the modesty of the victim, whose identity is protected by gag order.

The court heard that he had worked for the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore for 22 years and lived with his wife, two young children and parents-in-law.

The victim began working for Cheng in late September 2016 after leaving her village to work outside of Myanmar for the first time.

On Nov 27, 2016, the family travelled to China for a holiday, leaving the maid and him behind.

The next day, he followed the maid into a bedroom at night and placed his head on her right shoulder. In response, the victim turned her body away.

The day after, Cheng went to the master bedroom to place dirty laundry in a basket, while the maid was washing the bathtub.

The victim testified that after Cheng washed his hands, he hugged her from behind and she felt his hand touch her right breast.

She felt scared and ashamed, and was found crying later that day by Cheng.

While Cheng was out of the flat, the victim called and told her maid agency what had happened. A manager at the agency later told Cheng about the allegations and asked him to file a report.

He did so on Nov 30, 2016, despite having no initial intention of going to the police station, the prosecution said. 

ACCUSED ABUSED POSITION AS MAID'S EMPLOYER: JUDGE

District Judge Edgar Foo said he accepted that there was no intrusion of private parts nor skin-to-skin contact on the first charge where Cheng placed his head on the maid's shoulder.

"However, I would also agree that in view of the relationship between the two parties, that is the employer-maid situation, there is abuse of trust," said the judge.

"The accused had abused his position as employer and taken advantage when they were alone in the house when the family had gone overseas. As an employer, his job or responsibility is to protect the (maid) and not to take advantage of her."

The judge said the second offence, where Cheng hugged the maid from behind and pressed her breast, was premeditated and committed within the confined space of the bedroom toilet.

"I'm of the view that there was evidence that she was distressed and traumatised from the acts," he added.

He said while Cheng had the right to claim trial, the defence had sought to destroy the maid's credibility by suggesting collusion with another maid.

He said Cheng exhibited a lack of remorse, and had suggested in his police statement that the maid had accused him of rape. This was a lie, the prosecution said.

"One point that also bothered me - his conduct of changing and taking off his clothes without care or consideration as to whether the victim would see him in a state of undress clearly shows his brazen behaviour," the judge noted.

Defence lawyer Gino Hardial Singh, who took over the case on Wednesday from lawyer T M Sinnadurai, said his client intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

The judge granted Cheng bail of S$20,000 pending appeal.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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