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Taxi driver found guilty of molesting Sec 1 student after taking him home from school

SINGAPORE — A 58-year-old part-time ComfortDelGro taxi driver was convicted on Thursday (March 25) of molesting a teenage boy who was his passenger, after taking him and his friend home from school.

Taxi driver found guilty of molesting Sec 1 student after taking him home from school

When part-time taxi driver Chew Lye Beng was cross-examined by prosecutors, he offered “overly elaborate answers” to “seemingly simple questions”, the judge presiding over his case said.

  • Chew Lye Beng was a part-time taxi driver with ComfortDelGro when he picked up two male students 
  • He asked one of the boys to sit in front with him, while the boy’s friend sat at the back
  • Chew pinched the victim’s cheeks and asked personal questions throughout the journey
  • He then touched the victim’s crotch after they got to his condominium

 

SINGAPORE — A 58-year-old part-time ComfortDelGro taxi driver was convicted on Thursday (March 25) of molesting a teenage boy who was his passenger, after taking him and his friend home from school.

Chew Lye Beng had not been a credible witness during the trial, while the boy’s testimony was both consistent and corroborated by others, District Judge Carol Ling ruled.

The boy, then 13 years old in 2017 when the molestation took place, had testified that he agreed to Chew’s request to sit in the front passenger seat, because it did not really matter to him where he sat. 

He had asked his friend to follow him home on July 21, 2017 to change his clothes and bag before returning to school for his co-curricular activity (CCA). The other boy sat at the backseat of the taxi.

The victim, now 16, cannot be named due to a court order to protect his identity.

At first, the teenager did not think much about Chew asking him personal questions throughout the journey.

Then, when Chew pinched his cheeks, the boy said he was uncomfortable with that since Chew was a stranger to him.

The victim testified that after reaching his condominium in Clementi, Chew had touched his crotch twice while helping him to unbuckle his seatbelt. 

“He was perfectly able to unbuckle it on his own,” District Judge Ling noted in her grounds of decision.

The victim’s friend also testified to seeing the victim’s “shocked face” after Chew unbuckled the seatbelt.

All three of them got out of the taxi at the condo, before the victim told the other boy that Chew had touched his “bottom area”.

Chew then asked the victim to direct him to a toilet on the condo grounds and asked him many times if he wanted to accompany him there. When the other boy followed them, Chew asked him to stay behind.

The victim ultimately did not go into the toilet with Chew because he was afraid, and both boys left him. 

Back in the boy’s home, they discussed what had happened and decided to retrieve a penknife from a cabinet, in case Chew was still around when they went back down.

The boy’s mother saw what they were doing and asked why they were carrying a penknife, to which the boy replied: “Mummy, this one is for self-defence.”

When they went back down to look for Chew, he had left. The victim’s mother took a photograph of Chew’s licence plate that had been recorded when he entered the condominium, then went home to call ComfortDelGro to file a complaint.

‘UNCOMFORTABLE, FIDGETY’ 

The two boys went back to school, where the teacher-in-charge of their CCA noticed that the victim was not his usual self. He then told her about the incident in the taxi.

The teacher then alerted the school’s discipline committee.

District Judge Ling noted the assistant discipline mistress’ testimony that the victim was “uncomfortable, fidgety and not forthcoming” when talking to him about the molestation, and he was “unlike his normal self” as well.

The victim made a police report at Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Post that evening. Chew was arrested the following afternoon.

During the trial, Chew claimed that he had touched the victim in an attempt to help him with a defective seatbelt and insisted that he had proof in the form of a report made to ComfortDelGro.

However, he later admitted that he had never made such a report.

District Judge Ling found that he was evasive when cross-examined by prosecutors, and offered “overly elaborate answers” to “seemingly simple questions”.

Chew had also claimed midway through cross-examination — a year after the trial began — that he could not understand English, even though he chose to testify in English. District Judge Ling said that she was satisfied he could understand the proceedings.

Chew and the victim were total strangers, and there was no reason or motive for the boy to make up an entire incident to implicate Chew, the judge said.

Chew will return to court on April 13. For molestation of a minor, he could be jailed up to five years, fined, caned, or be punished with any combination of the three.

Related topics

molest teenager taxi driver crime court condominium

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