SINGAPORE: About 10 months after being released from 10 years' preventive detention for molesting minors, a 61-year-old man reoffended by preying on a 10-year-old girl who was going home from school.
Salim Abdul Rahman, who was a cleaner at a mall at the time, was given 12 years' preventive detention on Monday (Jan 18) for one count of molesting a minor, with two other charges considered in sentencing.
Preventive detention places recalcitrant offenders in jail for seven to 20 years in order to protect the public from the offender, with no remission.
Salim was given 10 years' preventive detention in 2009 for multiple counts of molesting minors. He was released in late December 2019 and started work as a cleaner at a mall in Serangoon.
On Oct 1 last year, he spotted a 10-year-old girl in uniform on the bus he was taking. He alighted at the same stop as the girl, who was in Primary 4, and decided to approach her as he had "evil thoughts of doing something bad" and wanted to "feel good", the court heard.
He went up to the girl as she was walking and touched her shoulders. He asked her where she lived and which school she attended, but she did not answer him as she did not recognise him.
Despite this, Salim persisted in talking to the girl, handing her S$1.50. The girl kept it as she was afraid to anger him if she rejected him.
Salim held her hand and told her to follow him to his house. He led her to a staircase at a housing block, but she refused to follow him up the steps, saying she wanted to go home for lunch.
Salim molested her. The frightened girl dashed home and began crying to her grandparent, who later took the girl to lodge a police report.
Salim was identified and arrested that same day and remanded soon after. He was assessed at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and was not found to suffer from any psychiatric disorder or illness. He was assessed to have a high risk of reoffending.
A HIGH DEGREE OF DANGER TO COMMUNITY: PROSECUTOR
Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng asked for 12 years' preventive detention, saying that Salim is a habitual criminal and a menace to society, and that he poses a high degree of danger to the community.
His previous convictions show "a worrying proclivity for committing sexual offences against young children", said Mr Ng, painting a "disconcerting picture of an offender who displayed paedophilic sexual interest".
Not only had he reoffended soon after release, he employed a "strikingly similar modus operandi" by approaching victims who were returning home from school, offering them pocket money and leading them to a secluded spot.
Salim admitted to sexually violating the young victim because it made him feel good, said Mr Ng.
Salim also sought to downplay his actions by lamenting that the inability to obtain medication for his insomnia, diabetes and eczema had affected his judgement, but this shows a lack of insight into his offending behaviour, said Mr Ng.
He added that Salim's propensity towards sexual offences against minors underscores "a need to take him out of circulation completely".
Salim, who had no lawyer, said he was caught by surprise when he was sentenced in 2009 and urged the judge to impose a term of less than 10 years.
"Please have some mercy on me. Could it be less than 10 years, because I'd like to change for the better and gain employment," said Salim through an interpreter.
The judge said he accepted Salim's expression of remorse, but said he had to consider the seriousness of the offences as well as the IMH report and the report on his suitability for preventive detention.
A slight uplift from his previous term is warranted for the protection of the public, added the judge.