Jail, caning for Singaporean man who molested maid while family was on holiday

Stanley Cheng Kim Han, 44, (centre, holding umbrella) leaving the State Courts on September 11, 2019. Cheng was convicted of two counts of outraging the modesty of his maid while they were alone in his flat. — TODAY pic
Stanley Cheng Kim Han, 44, (centre, holding umbrella) leaving the State Courts on September 11, 2019. Cheng was convicted of two counts of outraging the modesty of his maid while they were alone in his flat. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Oct 3 — He waited until his wife, young children and parents-in-law left the country on a holiday before molesting his 23-year-old domestic helper twice while they were alone in the flat.

The long-time Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore employee, who worked as a watch manager of air traffic control at Changi Airport, also frequently brushed against or touched the maid when walking past her.

But on Nov 28, 2016, Stanley Cheng Kim Han went a step further by placing his head on her right shoulder. The next day, he hugged her from behind and touched her breast.

In August, District Judge Edgar Foo found the 44-year-old father of two guilty of two charges of outraging the woman’s modesty following a 10-day trial.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to 11 months’ jail, three strokes of the cane and a S$5,000 fine.

What happened

The maid from Myanmar, who is now 26 and cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity, had been working for Cheng’s family for just two months before he molested her.

At the time, he had not yet paid her salary — S$68 in total — or offered her the chance to call home. It was the first time she had left her village in Myanmar.

The prosecution submitted footage from closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) in the flat as part of their case during the trial, showing, for example, the maid’s changed demeanour after one of the incidents.

Only Cheng knew where all the cameras were and he had decided where to put them. There were none in the bedroom and the bathroom where he molested the maid.

She testified that on Nov 28, 2016, at around 9pm, Cheng had put his head on her right shoulder right before he left to work the night shift.

She turned away and thought nothing of it till the next day when Cheng took it a step further.

While she was bending over the bathtub in the master bedroom’s bathroom and cleaning some tiles, he came in to put some clothes in the laundry basket. She testified that he hugged her from behind, and she felt his hand touch her breast.

Cheng left the flat shortly after. When he returned home later that evening, she was crying and asked to call her maid agency.

The victim testified that after the second incident, she felt scared and ashamed. Because of his habit of brushing against or touching her, which the prosecution said seemed “brief and innocent”, she said she had not been concerned about the first incident until the second incident.

“I didn’t think of anything that time because he’s my boss and he’s an elder I regard him as my elder and then I thought there is nothing in my mind,” she testified through an interpreter.

She also grew scared of being alone with him.

After calling her agency, the victim’s manager told Cheng about her allegations and advised him to take her to the police station to lodge a report. He did not want to do so, but ultimately filed one.

Prosecutors argued that Cheng lied in his police report, by stating that the victim had alleged rape.

During the trial, the defence, led by T M Sinnadurai, who is a lawyer at Regent Law LLC, argued that the victim had a motive to falsely implicate him as she wanted to change her employer.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Asoka Markandu said that there was “no evidence whatsoever” to support the assertion that the victim was unhappy with Cheng until the molestation incidents.

Citing the CCTV footage from Cheng’s flat, DPP Markandu said that the victim was usually in a happy and “chirpy” mood while employed by Cheng.

“It is not uncommon for the victim to be heard singing to herself or making funny noises, sometimes even mimicking sounds, like the sound of the door bell,” he said.

Cheng is appealing against the conviction and the sentence. — TODAY

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