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GrabHitch driver who molested two female passengers in an hour gets 22 months’ jail

SINGAPORE — A part-time GrabHitch driver with a history of molesting women in lifts was sentenced to one year and 10 months’ jail on Tuesday (Dec 17), this time for outraging the modesty of two female passengers in a car within an hour.

Part-time GrabHitch driver Tan Keng Leng touched the sides of his victims’ breasts with his elbow as they sat next to him in the front passenger seat.

Part-time GrabHitch driver Tan Keng Leng touched the sides of his victims’ breasts with his elbow as they sat next to him in the front passenger seat.

Singapore

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SINGAPORE — A part-time GrabHitch driver with a history of molesting women in lifts was sentenced to one year and 10 months’ jail on Tuesday (Dec 17), this time for outraging the modesty of two female passengers in a car within an hour.

Tan Keng Leng, 39, who is married with a young daughter, pleaded guilty to three counts of molestation earlier this year after initially claiming trial. Another two such charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

He will begin serving his sentence in a month because he needs to resign from his job as an engineer in a chemical company, his lawyer TM Sinnadurai said. Tan remains out on S$5,000 bail. 

His two victims — aged 46 and 24 — cannot be named due to a court order to protect their identities.

The court previously heard that he committed the offences on Oct 12 last year. At about 5.30pm, he first picked up the older woman for a trip via GrabHitch.

GrabHitch is a non-commercial social carpooling service open to most people with a car and a valid driving licence.

When she tried to get into the backseat of the car, she found that it was locked. He told her to sit at the front passenger seat because there were some files at the back.

As Tan was driving along the Pan Island Expressway, she felt his left elbow touching the right side of her arm. Thinking it was an accidental touch, she shifted away from him.

However, he extended his elbow towards her again and touched the side of her breast over her clothing. This happened at least four times during the whole journey.

Court documents showed that he also placed his hand on her waist in a car park. The location of the car park was not made known.

Later that evening, she made a police report at the Kampong Kembangan Neighbourhood Police Post.

TOUCHED VICTIM AT LEAST 3 TIMES

Barely an hour after picking up the first victim, Tan accepted a trip request from the younger victim.

Again, she sat in the front passenger seat when she spotted papers and files taking up the backseat.

While Tan was driving along East Coast Road, he moved closer to her, extended his elbow and touched her breast over her clothing. She moved away from him.

He then rested his elbow on the centre compartment of the car and began gesturing with his left hand while talking to her. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Goh Yi Ling told the court: “When the car drove over a bump or a rough road surface, the accused touched the victim’s right breast with his left fingers over her clothing. This happened at least three times during the entire journey.” 

When they reached a basement car park, he molested her by touching her abdominal and hip area as well, court documents showed.

DPP Goh sought two years’ jail, noting that Tan was sentenced to eight months’ jail in 2015 for similar offences. He had pretended to fall when in a lift with his victims, then touched their breasts when they tried to help him.

Tan’s lawyer Mr Sinnadurai asked for 14 months’ jail instead, saying that the degree of sexual exploitation in one of the charges was low.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim told Tan that he had trapped his passengers in the car, and there was “very little they could do to escape from the attention you foisted on them”.

“Of course, the fact that you have a similar track record is not in your favour… What the prosecution is seeking is fair, but I considered that there was no skin-to-skin contact,” she added.

For each charge, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined, caned or any combination of the three.

Related topics

crime court molestation GrabHitch driver passenger

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