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Attempted rape trial: Former Grab driver says he didn’t initiate kissing with passenger who touched him ‘all over’

SINGAPORE — A former Grab driver who is on trial in the High Court for molesting and sexually assaulting his female passenger in 2018 claimed that the act was consensual and that at no point did she try to reject his advances.

Attempted rape trial: Former Grab driver says he didn’t initiate kissing with passenger who touched him ‘all over’

Former Grab driver Tan Yew Sin (pictured), who is accused of molesting and sexually assaulting a female passenger in 2018, gave his testimony in court on July 19, 2021.

  • Former Grab driver Tan Yew Sin is on trial for molesting and sexually assaulting his female passenger in 2018
  • He said he had assessed that the woman was not drunk
  • He added that “she was very much involved” by touching him all over

 

SINGAPORE —  A former Grab driver who is on trial in the High Court for molesting and sexually assaulting his female passenger in 2018 claimed that the act was consensual and that at no point did she try to reject his advances.

Tan Yew Sin, 47, who took the stand for the first time on Monday (July 19), also told the court he had assessed that the woman was not drunk and was “normal just like any other passenger” despite being initially hesitant to let her into his car.

Tan is contesting a charge each of attempted rape, sexual assault and outrage of modesty, which he allegedly committed while the woman was in his car.

The woman was the third passenger the ride-hailing platform assigned Tan after he started his shift and he said he initially thought that she was drunk when he reached the pick-up point at the Wild Seed Bar located at the Seletar Aerospace Park in the early hours of May 19, 2018.

The woman, who cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity, was 19 at the time of the alleged offence. TODAY reported previously that she had drunk five glasses of beer with two friends.

Under examination by his defence lawyer, Mr Chenthil Kumarasingam of law firm Withers KhattarWong, Tan said that he was reluctant to let her into the car at first because he thought that she was intoxicated and was concerned that she would make a mess in the vehicle if she vomited. 

“Normally, I don’t ferry people who are drunk,” he added.

However, a male friend of the woman reassured Tan that she was “okay” and was “only a little drunk”, and Tan ultimately agreed to take her after the man handed her a plastic bag in case she vomited and some cash for the ride.

When asked by Mr Kumarasingam why he accepted the job in the end, Tan said he had assessed that she was not intoxicated based on several factors, including being able to respond to his questions such as verifying the address of her home, which was at a condominium in the east of Singapore.

The woman could be heard crying during the car ride in the in-car camera footage, which was played in court.

 

Upon arriving at the gates of the condominium, Tan said that there was no one at the guard house and his vehicle was unable to enter the compound despite his attempts to capture someone’s attention by flashing his vehicle’s headlights.  

He then made a decision to reverse his vehicle and park by the side of the road because he did not want to block the entrance to the condominium.

During this period, Tan said that the woman did not immediately leave the car. She was “visibly upset” and he tried to console her as best as he could, he added.

After some time had passed, the woman got out of the vehicle after receiving her change of fare money from Tan and went towards the condominium’s side gate. Tan got out and followed her.  

He said that he did so as it was a common courtesy and he did that for any female passenger late at night because he wanted to ensure they reached home safe.

“It’s late at night and she’s a girl so I felt uncomfortable leaving her alone like that,” he said. “I wanted to see that she was okay.”

However, the woman was still unable to gain access through the side gate because she could not find her access card and even tried using the intercom to no avail.

‘SHE WAS VERY MUCH INVOLVED’

Eventually, Tan suggested that she return to his car to “sit down and relax” since she was crying.

In the rear seat of the car, Tan said that she begun thumping her chest with her fist and he told her to stop doing that. She would listen for a while, he said, before she resumed.

Eventually, he got onto the backseat and held her hand in an attempt to stop her from hitting herself. He also searched for her mobile phone in her bag so that he could call someone for help.

“I couldn’t find her handphone, but I found her identity card in the wallet... After I put the items back into the bag, I turned around and next thing I know, we started kissing,” Tan told the court.

Mr Kumarasingam asked who initiated the kiss and Tan replied that it was not him.

The lawyer said that there were only the two of them in the car, and asked who else could it be. 

“I cannot remember… but I can say with certainty, not me,” Tan replied.

At various points during the hearing, Tan’s voice trailed off into a whisper while he responded to questions and was reminded several times to speak up clearly. 

He went on to describe how he and his passenger got intimate with each other in the car and said that “she was very much involved” by touching him all over as well.

He even claimed that she helped him remove her underwear and safety shorts, which protect women from sexual assault.  

Tan said that he offered to drive to a more secluded location. It was not stated in court how far this area was from the woman’s home.

When he reached the spot, he said that the initial passion they experienced had died and the woman “was not so into it anymore” because she began pushing his hands away. 

He said that he stopped eventually and drove her back to her condominium. He finally drove off after seeing her make her way into the compound.

The entire episode left him feeling confused and guilty, Tan said, because he had never planned to have a “one night stand” with a stranger and he began thinking of his wife and children.

He was first contacted by the police later in the morning while he was at a swimming pool with his children and also testified that he complied with the investigations by recounting the entire incident to them. 

Tan, who remains out on S$50,000 bail, will be back in the High Court on July 29 where he will be cross-examined by the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Imaduddien.

If convicted of attempted rape and sexual assault, Tan could be jailed up to 20 years, and fined or caned.

If found guilty of outrage of modesty, Tan could be jailed for up to two years, fined or caned, or any combination of these punishments.

Related topics

crime court attempted rape sexual assault molest Grab driver drinking

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