SINGAPORE, April 14 — A part-time taxi driver was jailed for 14 months and three weeks yesterday for molesting a teenage boy who was his passenger in 2017.
The three weeks of jail for Chew Lye Beng, now aged 58, are in lieu of three strokes of the cane. Chew cannot be caned as he is above 50.
Chew was convicted last month after claiming trial to one charge of molestation.
The boy, who was 13 years old at the time, had testified that Chew asked him to sit in the front passenger seat as he and his friend boarded the ComfortDelGro taxi after school.
His friend took the backseat as they travelled to the victim’s Clementi home on July 21, 2017 so that he could change his clothes and bag before returning to school for his co-curricular activity.
Throughout the journey, Chew kept asking the victim personal questions, and reached out to pinch his cheek a few times. When they reached his condominium, Chew touched his crotch twice while helping him to unbuckle his seatbelt, the victim testified.
The boy, who is now 16, cannot be named due to a court order protecting his identity.
After the boy and his friend got out of the taxi, Chew asked the victim to direct him to a toilet on the condo grounds, and asked him many times if he wanted to accompany him there. The boy agreed to do so.
When the other boy followed them, Chew asked him to stay behind.
The victim ultimately did not go into the toilet with Chew as he became afraid.
The boy’s mother later filed a complaint with ComfortDelGro after taking a photograph of Chew’s licence plate that had been recorded when he entered the condominium.
The boy also made a police report at Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Post that evening.
Chew was arrested the following afternoon.
During the trial, Chew claimed that he had touched the victim in an attempt to help him with a defective seatbelt and insisted that he had proof of the defect in the form of a report made to ComfortDelGro.
However, he later admitted that he had never made such a report.
In asking the court to consider imposing a jail term of at least 14 months and three strokes of the cane, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chong Kee En noted that Chew was “highly opportunistic” as a public transport worker ferrying a young charge.
The DPP said Chew had tried to disguise his intentions by trying to help him with his seatbelt, as well as asking intrusive questions and trying to get the victim to enter the toilet with him.
Aggravating his case were certain “aspersions” he cast during the trial, including claims that he could not understand what an Indian DPP was saying due to his accent, DPP Chong said.
Chew could have been jailed for up to five years or fined, or both, for using criminal force on the boy by touching his private parts. — TODAY