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Man took female students on 'tour' of Fort Canning Park, only to molest them

SINGAPORE: An odd job labourer molested two female students in Fort Canning Park, telling one of them he had "the Buddha" in him and could sense her unhappiness.

Tan Soh Kwan, 59, was sentenced to a year's jail on Thursday (Dec 8). He pleaded guilty to two counts of molestation, with another three charges taken into consideration.

The court heard that Tan was at Fort Canning Park on Sep 12, 2021, when a 20-year-old French student went there for a walk.

Tan introduced himself to the student and they began talking about attractions at the park. As Tan showed the student around the park, he claimed that he had been to Thailand and had given Buddhist teachings.

He took the student to a bench, sat down with her and told her he had a Buddha inside him.

They both sat cross-legged on the bench, facing each other. Tan took the student's hands, held her palms together and began chanting.

After this, he told the student that she had "a lot of thoughts and a sad heart".

The student told him that she was happy. But Tan insisted and told her that she had been having a "love problem" the past few days.

The student began to trust Tan, as she indeed had such a problem. Tan then asked her to follow him to another bench.

They sat down cross-legged again on this bench, facing each other, and continued talking. Suddenly, Tan hugged the student without warning and touched her eyebrow and her neck.

He placed his hand on the student's chest and began chanting for two minutes. He then told her that he would give her a massage and massaged her shoulder and back.

Tan asked the student to turn around, before hugging her with his lower body touching her buttocks.

The student felt uncomfortable and moved away, saying she felt scared of Tan. Tan told her not to be scared as he had "the Buddha" in him and hugged her again. 

This time, he embraced her so tightly that the student could feel his chest pressed against hers. Tan then said he wanted to crack the student's back, but said she would have to sit on his lap.

She said no, and Tan asked her to lie down on the bench. She did so, and Tan touched her face and neck before kissing her face.

He molested the student and pressed his palms against her belly and leg.

The student reported the molestation to the police that same day.

The next day, Tan was at Fort Canning Park again. This time, he saw two 18-year-old local students out for a walk.

He introduced himself to the students and offered to take them around for a tour of the park. 

The two girls agreed, and Tan told them that he had learnt massage techniques in Thailand and could assist them to heal their medical ailments.

He then helped the two girls perform back-stretching exercises before asking one of them to sit on his lap. The girl complied and sat on his lap, with her back to him.

Tan massaged the girl's back before molesting her. He then told her that she had "women's problems" and touched her abdomen without her consent.

He led the two girls to a nearby hut with a bench, and again asked the same girl to sit on his lap. He placed his hands on her chest, over her yoga cropped top, without her consent.

He then wrapped his arm around the girl's chest. She stood up quickly.

The two students made a police report in the early hours of Sep 14, and Tan was arrested later that day.

The prosecutor asked for 12 to 16 months' jail, saying Tan had used a form of deception on two levels. 

First, he took the time to lull the victims into trusting him by giving them a tour around Fort Canning Park. 

Then, he tricked the first girl by assuring her that he knew what she was experiencing at the time. He also progressively molested the victims under the pretext of massaging or healing them.

The offences were also committed in a brazen manner, in broad daylight in a public park, he said.

Source: CNA/ll


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