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NUS student charged with masturbating in school library flees S’pore, tells lawyer he will not return

SINGAPORE — An arrest warrant has been issued for a 28-year-old chemical engineering student from the National University of Singapore (NUS), who was charged last year with masturbating in front of a woman at the university’s Science Library.

Xiong Jiawei, 28, was charged in 2019 with masturbating in front of a woman at the university’s Science Library.

Xiong Jiawei, 28, was charged in 2019 with masturbating in front of a woman at the university’s Science Library.

SINGAPORE — An arrest warrant has been issued for a 28-year-old chemical engineering student from the National University of Singapore (NUS), who was charged last year with masturbating in front of a woman at the university’s Science Library.

Xiong Jiawei, a Singapore permanent resident, absconded to his home country of China and has no intention of returning here, his former lawyer Gino Hardial Singh told TODAY.

Court documents had previously described Xiong as a Singaporean but his lawyer clarified on Tuesday (Dec 8) that he is a permament resident here. 

A review of Xiong’s arrest warrant was held in the State Courts on Monday.

Mr Singh discharged himself as Xiong’s defence counsel during the last review in late October. He told the court then that Xiong left Singapore on Aug 31 without telling the legal team. 

“We were only apprised of his whereabouts in China on the morning of Sept 1. We have been in constant touch with him and it has always been his position that he would be coming back to Singapore before his (plead guilty) date,” Mr Singh said then.

However, when the lawyer pressed Xiong on Oct 21 for his return date, he said that he did not intend to come back.

Xiong was in a master’s programme for chemical engineering at NUS when he allegedly performed the act on April 10 last year at about 6.20pm.

He initially faced a charge of insulting a woman’s modesty, which carries a jail term of up to a year or a fine, or both.

The charge was later reduced to one of committing an obscene act in a public place. Offenders can be jailed for up to three months or fined, or both.

Court documents did not state the alleged victim’s age or whether she was a fellow student. She cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity.

Xiong’s next arrest warrant review will take place on June 7.

Such warrants are issued by the courts to the police or other law enforcement agencies to arrest an alleged offender, in instances where they fail to attend court proceedings, for example. Reviews are held if the accused person cannot be located.

An NUS spokesperson previously said that Xiong was suspended for two semesters, ordered to undergo mandatory counselling as well as psychiatric assessment, and would need to be certified medically fit before being allowed to continue studying after the suspension.

The incident happened in the midst of a nationwide conversation last year about sexual misconduct on university campuses, after NUS undergraduate Monica Baey took to Instagram last April to publicise a peeping tom incident involving her.

Afterwards, NUS announced a slew of measures to boost security on its campus. 

This includes covering gaps in shower cubicles, increasing the number of security guards at hostels and installing new locks at the entrances of restrooms in hostels.

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