He prowled playgrounds, void decks for prey
Married paedophile lured children with promises of restoring eyesight and boosting their intelligence
For 13 years, he roamed housing estates looking for children to molest.
Knowing they were vulnerable and trusting, he struck at places they would feel the safest - their homes.
Once he convinced them to let him in, he molested them, not sparing even a pair of siblings in primary school.
Even though he was diagnosed with paedophilia, the judge said it was no excuse for the harm he had caused before jailing him and ordering that he be caned. (See report below.)
Tahir Hassan, 49, was a packer at a supermarket when he began having sexual urges towards children in 1995, said court papers. Seven years later, he hatched a plan to molest kids.
Between 2002 and last October, he sexually assaulted five girls and a boy. They were aged between five and 13 years old.
Yesterday, he was jailed 11½ years and ordered to receive 15 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to four counts of outrage of modesty.
Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew said Tahir would randomly visit different housing estates to sell items such as massage lotion and perfume.
While doing so, he would prey on unsuspecting children at playgrounds and void decks.
To lure them, he also started selling light sticks in 2005.
At around 5pm on Sept 30, 2003, he approached a then-eight-year-old visually impaired girl and her younger brother while they were on their way to buy sweets in the northern part of Singapore.
After asking the boy to go ahead first, Tahir took the girl to a second-storey staircase of a block of flats and noticed that she was visually impaired in her right eye.
Tahir, who is married and has three step-daughters, told the girl he could cure her and instructed her to pull down her shorts.
When she complied out of fear, Tahir molested the girl, performed oral sex on her before telling her to go home.
She told her sister about the ordeal. Her mother made a police report about 2½ hours later.
Tahir struck again on the morning of Oct 15, 2010, when he approached two girls, then seven and 13 years old, at the void deck of a Toa Payoh block of flats.
He offered to teach them mathematics, claiming he had taught many students previously. He claimed he could cure them and make them smarter.
The girls followed his orders when he told them to gather some flowers and leaves for a spiritual treatment.
He took them to a staircase area on the 39th storey of another block of flats, slipped on a pair of surgical gloves and molested them.
The older girl made a police report at around 2pm that day.
Then, at around 10.30am on Oct 11 last year, Tahir went to the home of a 10-year-old boy and his seven-year-old sister with a bag of light sticks.
After finding out their parents were not home, he asked the girl to open the door and she let him in. In the flat, Tahir sat on a sofa and molested them.
He also sexually penetrated the girl after telling her brother to take a bath.
The boy phoned their mother after Tahir had left and she rushed home.
Tahir was arrested four days later.
For each count of outrage of modesty, Tahir could have been jailed up to five years and fined or caned or receive any combination of such punishments.
He also admitted to one count each of sexually penetrating a minor without her consent and kidnapping.
Six other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
No link between his disorder and crimes
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) James Chew told District Judge Crystal Ong that supermarket sorter and packer Tahir Hassan was a diagnosed paedophile who had the sexual urge to touch children since 1995.
But according to an Institute of Mental Health report by psychiatrist Jaydip Sarkar, DPP Chew added that there was no link between Tahir's offences and the disorder.
Urging the judge to sentence Tahir to between 12 and 14 years' jail with 18 to 21 strokes of the cane, he said: "Dr Sarkar was clear that the disorder does not impair a person's capacity to make rational and pro-social choices."
DPP Chew also said Tahir targeted his victims in their homes or neighbourhoods.
He added: "These were places where the victims lived and went about their daily lives.
"No child should be made to suffer such violations while within the safety of his own home, and children ought to be able to feel safe when spending time in the neighbourhood."
Tahir's lawyer, Ms Sadhana Rai, asked the judge to sentence her client to between seven and eight years' jail, three strokes of the cane and a fine.
She told the court Tahir had been very sick for a long time and his paedophilia needed to be treated.
Judge Ong noted that there was no link between Tahir's condition and his offences.
Before handing out the sentence, she also stressed that he had preyed on very young children.