SINGAPORE, Sept 11 — The two families living side by side were on good terms, with one father often asking his neighbour to help with home repairs.
But the neighbour betrayed the father’s trust by molesting his young daughter twice in 2017, when she was just eight years old.
Yesterday, the offender — a 47-year-old Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident, who initially intended to claim trial to his offences — pleaded guilty in the High Court to two counts of using criminal force to molest a minor.
He could be jailed for up to five years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of the three for each charge.
Two other charges of showing obscene material to the girl will be taken into consideration for sentencing tomorrow.
Meanwhile, he was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal on eight other charges of molest, house trespass, and sexual assault by penetration of a minor.
He cannot be named due to a court gag order to protect the girl’s identity.
The families’ relationship
The court heard that the man worked at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) at the time. His occupation was redacted from court documents.
He married his wife, identified as Evelyn, in 2008. They lived with Evelyn’s parents — named as Mr Sim and Mrs Sim in court documents.
The victim stayed with her parents in a two-storey house next door. Both homes were separated by a fence.
Her mother, a Chinese national and Singapore permanent resident, married the girl’s Singaporean father in 2007 and gave birth to the girl two years later. They moved to China for a few years before returning to Singapore permanently in June 2014.
Pretended to fix water heater
On the afternoon of September 4, 2017, the man went over to the girl’s house on her father’s request to fix the water heater.
After doing so, he left the home shortly before the girl’s father left for work.
At the time, the girl’s paternal aunt was visiting from Indonesia and was in the living room.
A few minutes later, the man returned to the house on the pretext of fixing the water heater again. He went up to the second floor and into the girl’s parents’ bedroom where she was using her laptop.
He showed her an obscene photo and video on his mobile phone, then touched her private parts.
She pushed him out of the door and tried to shut it, but relented when he said: “Please, please, please.” He then pulled down her underwear.
She pulled it back up and went to the living room to tell her aunt that the man had not fixed the water heater. He then left.
Evaded wife at MBS
Three months later, the man told the girl — while they were near the fence separating their houses — that he wanted to go over to her home.
She told him he could do so a week later on December 1, 2017.
During the week, the man lied to his wife, Evelyn, that he had to go back to MBS on December 1 to do some packing work. Evelyn decided to go there with him that day to run some errands.
When they got there and Evelyn went off to shop, he slipped back to the staff car park and returned to the girl’s home. The girl was alone in the house then.
He unlocked her home gate using the key that his wife’s parents, Mr and Mrs Sim, had given him.
In her parents’ bedroom, the girl searched for online “sex videos” on her laptop and watched them with the man for a while.
He then took off her clothes and underwear, removed his own, and touched her private parts, only stopping when she told him it was painful.
He also played a pornographic cartoon on his mobile phone for her and molested her while she was distracted. Later, he took a shower and picked his wife up from MBS.
While the man was naked, the girl had noticed several scars on his stomach, which he told her were from a motorcycle accident. A doctor found the same scars during an examination after he was arrested.
The day after the molest, the girl asked her mother to get their gate key back from Mr and Mrs Sim. When she repeated her request the following day, she told her mother that the man had molested her.
The girl’s mother confronted the man on December 6, 2017 at his home and asked him to go to the police station with her, but he denied any wrongdoing. Evelyn also pleaded with the mother to give her husband a chance and not report the matter.
Later that evening, he admitted to his offences.
The next morning, the girl’s mother brought her to the Marine Parade Neighbourhood Police Centre to lodge a police report. — TODAY