Jail, caning for migrant worker who molested student, teaching staff at secluded area in Singapore

Bangladeshi Rahaman Shahinor, 32, who molested two people, told the court in his own defence that he did not know about Singapore's laws. — TODAY pic
Bangladeshi Rahaman Shahinor, 32, who molested two people, told the court in his own defence that he did not know about Singapore's laws. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, April 15 — A 32-year-old migrant worker, who molested a teenager and a teaching support staff member at a secluded part of research and business park One-North in January, was sentenced to 20 months in jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday.

Bangladeshi Rahaman Shahinor, who pleaded guilty to two counts of molestation, was working at the construction site for agri-business firm Wilmar International at One-North Link.

He intercepted his victims — a 13-year-old and a 30-year-old — at the Forest Canopy Boardwalk at One-North Park Fusionopolis South on two consecutive days.

The victims cannot be named due to a court order protecting their identities.

The court heard that on the evening of Jan 28, Rahaman intentionally bumped into the girl as she was making her way to One-North MRT Station from her school.

When she fell, Rahaman groped her chest over her blouse.

The girl got up and tried to run back to her school but Rahaman blocked her path before groping her chest again and touching her stomach.

When the girl turned and tried to run towards the MRT station instead, Rahaman grabbed her backpack from behind.

He then grabbed the hem of her blouse and tried to pull it upwards.

She shouted at him to stop but he did not and instead persisted by pulling the collar of her blouse.

When she tried to call her mother at this point, he attempted to grab her mobile phone.

He ran away when he was unable to do so.

Less than 12 hours later, Rahaman struck again.

At 7.10am the next day, he stopped in front of a 30-year-old teaching support staff member and grabbed her chest over her dress for a few seconds.

This victim, who worked at the same school the first victim attended, tried to detain him while she called for the police but he ran away.

She lost sight of him at first but later spotted him walking down One-North Crescent towards Fusionopolis.

This victim quickly recorded a video of Rahaman.

A security officer was walking out of the school at that moment.

The 30-year-old victim caught his attention and shouted, “That’s him! That’s him!”, while pointing at Rahaman.

He and another security officer at the school tried to track him down but lost sight of him.

Police investigation revealed that he fled by taking the MRT from One-North station to his dormitory near Pioneer station.

Throughout the hearing, Rahaman, who was not represented by a lawyer, kept apologising for what he had done and begged District Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz to impose a lighter sentence, saying that his parents back in Bangladesh are “waiting for him”.

“Sorry. I wrong already. I mistake already. Next time, I never do. My father, mother cry for me. I no working. Many cry,” he said.

When he tried defending himself by saying “I didn’t know about Singapore law”, the judge retorted: “It is not a defence to say that you didn’t know something was an offence.”

In sentencing him, the judge said it is particularly egregious that Rahaman had “deliberately and persistently” offended against the 13-year-old victim, adding that it is “especially aggravating” that he pursued her to pull up her blouse when she tried to escape.

For molesting the minor, he could have been jailed up to five years, fined or caned, or received all three penalties.

For molesting the woman, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined or caned, or received all three penalties. — TODAY

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