SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): A serial sexual offender was 14 years old when he molested a girl in 2017. He went on to commit more sexual crimes involving other female victims before he was charged in court in January 2022.
While out on bail, he recorded upskirt videos of women on escalators at MRT stations on five occasions between Nov 7, 2022 and Jan 11, 2023.
The offender, who is now 20, pleaded guilty on Monday (Sept 18) to multiple offences, including molestation and sexually penetrating a minor. He cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the victims’ identities.
His sexual offences started in August 2017 at age 14 when he molested a female schoolmate who was around 14 or 15 years old at the time.
In February 2019, he committed acts, including sexual penetration, against a 12-year-old Secondary 1 schoolmate whom he had invited to his home for a “water fight”.
Around two months later, he took a female part-time lifeguard’s underpants from her bag during an event at a swimming complex where he was a volunteer. She later made a police report.
The offender struck again in May 2019 when he went to a park with a fourth victim, who was a 13-year-old schoolmate, and played a game of truth or dare with her.
He dared her to take off her shirt a few times but she refused to do so. He then dared her to take off her skirt and she complied as she was wearing a pair of shorts underneath.
The offender later slipped a hand into her shorts and sexually penetrated her.
In October that year, he used his mobile phone in an attempt to view a live video of a 22-year-old woman changing in a toilet at a Shenton Way condominium, where he was attending a gathering.
When she spotted the device, she immediately wrapped herself with a towel and saw him running away towards some barbecue pits.
Court documents did not disclose what happened next but he later confessed to her about what he had done.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap said that the offender did not manage to make any recordings or see the fifth victim via his mobile phone.
On Jan 5, 2022, he was charged in court and released on bail that same day.
At around the same time, he was doing his internship at a local attraction with three other people, including a male classmate, who discovered that the accused’s mobile phone contained upskirt videos.
DPP Yap said the classmate had checked the offender’s mobile phone, which was left on a table during lunch.
“He suspected that there were incriminating materials in the (device) based on conversations he had with the accused previously. He then saw that the accused’s handphone contained upskirt videos and reported it to a staff at (the attraction),” she added.
Investigators later found out that the offender had recorded the genital regions of five unidentified women between Nov 7, 2022, and Jan 11, 2023, on the escalators at MRT stations.
The court has called for a report to assess the offender’s suitability for reformative training.
Those given such a sentence will be detained in a centre where they observe a strict regimen that can include foot drills and counselling.
The offender will be sentenced in October.