Singapore

Athletics coach charged with outrage of modesty

Former national sprinter Loh has taken a leave of absence from the association from Thursday


Veteran track-and-field coach Loh Chan Pew, who is also vice-president (competitions organising) of Singapore Athletics (SA), the sport's local governing body, has been charged with outrage of modesty.

The 72-year-old was charged in court on Thursday with five such counts, all with the alleged use of criminal force on a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old.

According to court documents, the incidents took place from late 2011 to March 2013.

In each of these charges, Loh was alleged to have used criminal force and rubbed the victims' genitals.

The victims cannot be named in order to protect their identities.

Loh has claimed trial, but sought an adjournment in order to engage a lawyer. The case is expected to be mentioned again next Thursday.

The athletics coach is a familiar figure in the local track-and-field fraternity, having also been a former national sprinter who was part of the men's 4x100m relay team that won silver at the 1973 South-east Asian Peninsular Games.

He has helped nurture some of Singapore's best track-and-field athletes, many among them former national-record holders. Loh also served as a deputy superintendent of prisons in the 1990s.

When news of the alleged molestation first emerged last August, Loh took a leave of absence from his role at SA amid a police probe into the issue, but returned to the association in March.

When contacted by The Straits Times, SA president Ho Mun Cheong said that Loh has taken a leave of absence from the association from Thursday.

In response to queries from ST, Sport Singapore (SportSG) - the national governing body for national sports associations - issued a statement saying that it has been in touch with the SA management.

Said a SportSG spokesman: "As this is an ongoing court case, Sport Singapore will not be making any comment on the case specifically.

NO CANING

"We have communicated with SA and expect the SA management committee to take appropriate actions with respect to Mr Loh's continuing involvement in the SA's activities during this time.

"This should include informing the SA's affiliates of the action being taken."

For using criminal force with the intention to outrage the modesty of a person, Loh can be imprisoned up to two years, fined, or a combination of the punishments.

As he is above 50, no caning will be imposed, if convicted.

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