A private tutor, Sou Kum Choi, aged 57, was sentenced to 53 months in jail for molesting two of his male students. On Friday (Nov 3), Sou Kum Choi pleaded guilty to one count of molesting an 11-year-old boy in 2018 and consented to have three additional molestation charges against the same victim taken into consideration during his sentencing.
In August, he was convicted after a trial on two other charges of molestation concerning a second victim. The second victim was between the ages of 10 and 12 when the alleged offenses took place, spanning from 2014 to 2016.
Deputy public prosecutors Jane Lim and Adelle Tai strongly condemned Sou’s behavior, describing it as reprehensible.
They urged the court to impose a jail sentence ranging from 50 to 54 months, along with an additional 3½ months of imprisonment in place of eight strokes of the cane. However, it was noted that Sou could not be caned due to his age, being above 50 years old.
The prosecutors highlighted Sou’s prior conviction in 2006 when he was found guilty of three counts of outrage of modesty for molesting another minor during private tuition sessions, resulting in a 10-month jail term.
The Deputy Public Prosecutors argued that the sentencing for Sou’s recent offenses should “reflect society’s strong disapproval of such heinous conduct, serve as a deterrent to like-minded offenders, and dissuade the accused from ever harming another child.”
According to The Straits Times, Sou was introduced to the first victim’s parents by their neighbors in June 2015. He began tutoring the boy in various subjects, including English, mathematics, science, and Chinese, with classes held at the victim’s home two to three times a week.
These sessions took place in either a bedroom or the living room, often with the presence of the victim’s grandparents.
Between April 2016 and April 2018, Sou molested the victim on at least 20 occasions. He also kissed the victim on the cheek at least four times, starting in early 2019. Sou attempted to kiss the boy six more times, but his advances were unsuccessful as the victim quickly moved away.
The crimes came to light on June 22, 2019, just three days after the last molestation incident when the victim disclosed Sou’s inappropriate actions to his mother, causing the victim to cry. The following day, the victim and his parents filed a police report.
Sou also worked as a private tutor for the second victim during the boy’s time in Primary 4 to Primary 6. They had tutoring sessions up to three times a week, taking place in the boy’s room with the door closed. During the trial, prosecutors revealed that Sou had “made sexual advances against the victim” by stroking the boy’s thigh on one occasion.
When questioned during the trial, the victim, now a teenager, explained that he did not shout for help to alert anyone about what was happening because he was confused and “not sure of what was going on” at the time, the report added.
The Deputy Public Prosecutors noted that this response was understandable given the victim’s age at the time, ranging from 10 to 12 years old.
Sou, represented by lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya, denied stroking the victim’s thigh and claimed that he had only tapped the boy’s leg due to distractions caused by Pokemon cards or a mobile phone.
For each count of molesting a child below 14 years old, Sou could have faced a sentence of up to five years in jail, fines, or both.
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