A 46-year-old Singaporean man, Choong Toh Min, has been sentenced to seven years of preventive detention for committing an act of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a foreign domestic helper. This verdict follows Choong’s guilty plea in September.
Preventive detention is imposed on repeat offenders with at least three prior convictions, and Choong’s extensive history of five past convictions for similar offenses met this criterion.
According to the reports, his past convictions for outrage of modesty and aggravated outrage of modesty occurred against foreign domestic helpers, with offenses dating back to 2003, 2007, 2009, and 2014.
The incident took place on the morning of June 10 when the Indonesian domestic helper was walking her employer’s dogs. She decided to rest at the void deck, behind a pillar, near a lift lobby at Telok Blangah Rise. Choong, who had been seen in the area before, was also present at the time.
The victim’s identity remains protected by a court order, and her name cannot be disclosed.
While speaking to her family on her mobile phone, the victim was grabbed on her right chest from behind by Choong. Startled, she immediately stood up, witnessing Choong flee the scene.
Despite calling for help, there was no one around to assist her.
Fearing repercussions, the victim initially refrained from informing her employer about the incident but changed her mind two days later, concerned for her safety. Upon learning of the incident, her employer promptly filed a police report.
Investigations revealed that Choong had worn a surgical mask during the offense and sought refuge in a nearby building to evade capture.
During interviews with investigators, Choong admitted his actions were wrong but explained he felt excitement during the assault.
When questioned about why he targeted one side of the victim’s chest, Choong cited concerns about receiving a more severe sentence if he had touched both sides.
As per the report, when investigators asked why he touched and squeezed one side of the helper’s chest and not both sides, he responded: “If I touch both, very heavy sentence.”
Assistant Public Prosecutor Chye Jer Yuan called for a preventive detention suitability report, emphasizing Choong’s premeditation. Despite being certified with a mild intellectual disability by the Institute of Mental Health, Choong was found to be aware of the wrongfulness of his actions.
The decision to impose preventive detention was made to protect the public, given Choong’s history as an unrepentant repeat offender with a high risk of engaging in criminal sexual offenses.
In Singapore, individuals found guilty of assaulting or using criminal force to outrage modesty may face a maximum sentence of three years in jail, a fine, caning, or a combination of these punishments.
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