Man jailed for molesting elderly cleaner who gave him money for food

A 46-year-old man has been sentenced to six months in jail for molesting a cleaner after she gave him money to buy food.

Chua Wee Meng pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of outraging the 68-year-old woman's modesty. A similar charge involving a different victim was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The victim, a part-time cleaner at the time, cannot be named to protect her identity.

On June 19 last year, Chua approached the woman at a Housing Board block in Queenstown and asked for $4 to buy food.

She gave him $2, which was all she had, but he wanted another $2 and molested her when she refused. Shocked, she declined his third request for money.

The woman later told her daughter what happened, and a police report was made.

Chua was later remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a forensic psychiatric evaluation.

Citing an IMH report, Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Ke Hui said that Chua suffers from schizophrenia but was aware of the nature and quality of his actions at the time of his offence.

In sentencing Chua yesterday, District Judge Wong Li Tein said the man had committed the offence on an elderly woman who "had demonstrated kindness to him".

The judge also said the amount of fear caused by Chua's act cannot be understated, noting that the victim was shaken by the offence.

Chua's sentence has been backdated to Feb 1 this year, when he was remanded.

For outraging the woman's modesty, Chua could have been jailed for up to two years, fined and/or caned. 

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.