SINGAPORE: A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner on trial for molesting a female patient under the guise of improving her blood circulation testified on Tuesday (Feb 9) that the woman had asked him to do it.
Lim Ah Bah, 74, said via a Hokkien interpreter that the 42-year-old woman had lifted her shirt suddenly and asked him to perform a sex act on her.
He said he was shocked and "scared to see it" and "dare not imagine any further", adding that the woman had asked him two times to perform the sex act.
The prosecutor called this new information "an astonishing claim" and put it to him that his version of events was "illogical" and that he was making things up as the trial went along.
Lim is contesting four charges of outraging the victim's modesty and insulting her modesty in 2018. He allegedly performed two sexual acts on the woman on Oct 1, 2018, during a treatment session at a TCM clinic in central Singapore.
He is also accused of insulting the woman's modesty by asking her to apply lubricant gel on herself and suggesting that her boyfriend could perform a sex act on her for "better blood circulation".
The victim took the stand last year and said she had gone back to Lim for a further consultation as he had managed to clear her cough quickly after her first visit with him.
However, after asking her if she had a boyfriend, Lim allegedly told her to ask her boyfriend for more sex to cure a blockage in her body.
After performing tuina - a type of massage - as well as acupuncture and cupping on the woman, Lim allegedly lifted her singlet and performed a sexual act on her.
Feeling uncomfortable, the woman asked him to stop and left the clinic. She later confronted Lim over the phone after doing research on the topic and finding no such medical practice, and filed a police report.
Taking the stand on Tuesday, Lim said it was the victim who asked him to perform the sex act on her two times. He said he declined and told her that he could not do it, on top of asking her to get dressed.
"First of October, she came. She came back for consultation. She said - oh doctor, you are very capable, I've recovered from my cough," sad Lim.
Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh if the victim had told him why she returned for another consultation since her cough had been cleared, Lim said the woman said her body part was "itchy and hard" and the skin was peeling.
"How did she suddenly ask you to (do this act) in the consultation room?" asked Ms Poh.
I'M INNOCENT: ACCUSED
"She asked 'Old physician, will you do for me'. I said 'I will definitely not do (this) for people'," answered Lim. He said he was innocent and has "been living for decades and I've never been accused before".
Lim said that he did not perform the requested sex acts and instead massaged the soles of the victim's feet after she readjusted her clothes.
The court was also shown closed-circuit television footage from the clinic, where the victim and Lim were at the counter.
Lim was heard saying that the victim's "body skin" was beautiful. Asked why he had said this, Lim said: "I meant the skin of her soles was very beautiful, not her body skin was beautiful. Sometimes I may be talking too fast, it may sound wrong."
READ: TCM clinic owner testifies against ex-employee, says she has never heard of treating clients with sex acts
Lim was also questioned about a phone call he had with his boss, where he allegedly said he had performed the same sex act to treat a 60-year-old woman. He said in court that he did no such thing.
When he was asked why he did not deny it in the phone call, Lim said: "I was being falsely accused. I was standing on the bus. I told her we should be speaking face to face."
He claimed that his boss had called him to say he had molested the victim, and asked him to bring S$5,000 to a coffee shop otherwise a police report would be made. The boss had taken the stand previously and denied this.
Lim had admitted to certain acts in his police statements. Questioned about this, he said he had merely signed them as he was told he could leave if he did.
In earlier hearings, the prosecutor played clips of a phone call the victim made to Lim, where the victim asked Lim why he had performed the sex act on her.
During the conversation, the victim told Lim that she had tried searching online for the technique but could not find anything. In reply, Lim could be heard saying that she would not know about the technique and that he could tell her more about it in future if she wanted, before ending the call.
If convicted of molesting the woman, Lim can be jailed for up to two years and fined per charge. He cannot be caned as he is older than 50.
If found guilty of insulting a woman's modesty, he can be jailed for up to a year, fined or both per charge.