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Judicial CP - March 2005
Straits Times, Singapore, 12 March 2005
Choa Chu Kang molester gets 3 years' jail and cane
He preyed on young girls after seeking their help to do sit-ups
By Selina Lum
THE serial molester of Choa Chu Kang, who preyed on young girls by asking them to help him do sit-ups and then molesting them, was yesterday jailed for three years.
Tan Lug Tong, 27, a Singapore Armed Forces regular, was also given 12 strokes of the cane by Senior District Judge Richard Magnus, who said his acts had 'violated the innocence of the children'.
He was nabbed last December, two weeks after police issued an alert and a photo-fit of him to the media.
He tried the tactic again on Dec 1, on an 11-year-old girl who ran home and called the police as she recalled a Straits Times report on the molestations.
A manhunt was launched and, within an hour, he was spotted jogging in Teck Whye Lane and was detained.
Tan looked subdued yesterday when he pleaded guilty to molesting four girls, aged nine to 13, between Sept 25, 2002 and Nov 15 last year.
Two other charges - for using criminal force to make a 12-year-old touch his genitals and for insulting the modesty of a 10-year-old by exposing himself to her - were taken into consideration.
Several times during yesterday's court proceedings, Tan, who is married with a young son, closed his eyes, heaved a sigh and shook his head as graphic details of his acts on the young girls were heard in the courtroom.
Tan approached them in the afternoons, and led them to secluded spots, like staircase landings. While they were holding his legs down, he reached out and touched their private parts.
Pleading for leniency, Tan's lawyer, Mr Eric Liew, said the accused was partly driven to molest the girls as he did not find sexual satisfaction in his marriage. His wife had developed an aversion to sex after giving birth, and his 'youthful libido had driven his urges on'. He noted that Tan did not use force on the girls and committed the acts in a 'fleeting moment' when they were dressed.
However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Derek Kang urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence, citing the recent rise in the number of molestation cases.
There were 1,096 cases last year, compared to 1,083 in 2003, he said, adding that in most of the cases, the victims did not know the offenders.
The DPP noted that Tan was a serial molester who targeted young children and used the same modus operandi to entice each of his victims into physical proximity with him.
All the girls have been counselled, he added.
Straits Times, Singapore, 22 March 2005
Jailed for trying to smuggle illegals out
Malaysian first to be convicted under new Singapore laws; he gets six strokes as well
Be Selina Lum
IN A first for the courts here, a man was yesterday convicted of trying to smuggle immigration offenders out of Singapore.
L. Magendtheran Letchamanan, 20, was sentenced to 30 months' jail and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane.
The unemployed Malaysian was convicted under tougher new immigration laws introduced in January. Previously, the Immigration Act only provided for the offence of smuggling immigration offenders into Singapore.
On Jan 22, enforcement officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) stopped Magendtheran's car at the departure section of Woodlands Checkpoint.
During an inspection, they found four women crouched and sweating profusely in the boot and two men hiding in the back seat of the car, covered with a carpet.
All six - three women from China, a man from Myanmar and a man and a woman from Thailand - were arrested, along with Magendtheran.
Investigations revealed that four of them had entered Singapore on social visit passes to look for work, but remained here when their passes expired.
The other two had been barred from coming into Singapore after being repatriated for illegal entry, but they had entered the country again - one by using a passport that had been tampered with, and the other by boat.
But they had trouble finding jobs here and had decided to leave the country.
They contacted friends to find out how to escape.
Separately, they were instructed to make their way to Kranji MRT station on Jan 22, where they would be directed to a car that would ferry them out of the country.
Magendtheran, who was offered the job to bring the illegals out by a man named Velu, was promised RM300 (S$128) for each successful trip.
On that day, Velu called him on his mobile phone, telling him to drive from Johor Baru to a fast-food restaurant.
But before he entered Singapore, Velu changed the plan. He called him again and directed him to Kranji MRT station instead.
There, Magendtheran met another Malaysian man, named Vasoo, and the illegals.
Vasoo told the illegals to board the car, then drove to a dirt path in Marsiling. There, he ordered the four women to get into the boot and hid the two men in the back seat.
Vasoo then drove to the fast-food restaurant, handed the car over to Magendtheran and told him to wait for instructions.
Later, Velu called Magendtheran and told him to drive to Malaysia via the Woodlands Checkpoint.
The six immigration offenders, aged 26 to 41, have been convicted and were given varying sentences for overstaying, illegal entry or unlawful return.
Velu and Vasoo are still at large.
Straits Times, Singapore, 25 March 2005
37 illegals living in monsoon drains nabbed
By Rachel Chan
FROM the outside, it looked like any other network of underground monsoon drains. However, unknown to most, the maze of drains in Old Tampines Road was home to 37 immigration offenders from Myanmar.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had kept the drains under surveillance for two months before launching a raid at 3am on Tuesday.
The team of 68 ICA and police officers entered the drains from two directions, surprising a sentry, who was arrested before he had time to warn his sleeping compatriots.
The officers encountered the first group of offenders about 200m inside the drains. Another five groups, who lived further in, were also caught off-guard.
Most did not put up a fight. Some tried to escape via the numerous manholes, but they were caught by officers stationed at possible escape routes.
The wet and muddy hideout was surprisingly well appointed. It was well-stocked with items such as cooking utensils, stoves, instant noodles, eggs, tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Candles were the main source of light, while beds were fashioned out of discarded doors and planks.
There seemed to be no problems with pests and the manholes provided an effective ventilation system.
The inhabitants had even put a filtration system in place, damming areas higher up in the drain using sand-filled plastic bags, which allowed clean water to flow through.
The 37 males arrested were aged between 19 and 40. Some were odd-job labourers, while others were unemployed. Investigations showed that 36 of them were illegal immigrants, while one had overstayed in Singapore by about a year.
On Wednesday, 36 of them were charged in court. Thirty-five were given sentences ranging from one month in jail and four strokes of the cane to two months in jail and six strokes of the cane.
One man was not charged on medical grounds, as he had a hernia.
The offender who overstayed was sentenced to 10 months in prison and five strokes of the cane.
The penalty for overstaying or illegal entry is a jail term of up to six months and a minimum three strokes of the cane.
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