Singapore

PhD holder jailed 18 days for molesting woman on MRT train

An engineer with a doctorate was yesterday sentenced to 18 days' jail for molesting a 39-year-old woman on an MRT train.

Shen Ruifu, 54, who holds a PhD in geotech, a branch of civil engineering, was previously with the National University of Singapore, which he left in 2015.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Teh told the court the Singaporean had boarded a train on the North-South Line at Sembawang station on Dec 12, 2018.

The victim boarded the same train as it pulled up at Ang Mo Kio station at around 7.40am. She then stood near a door with Shen standing to her right.

"At about 7.45 am, while the train was travelling from Ang Mo Kio MRT station to Bishan MRT station, the victim felt something scratching her right inner thigh.

"She looked down and saw the accused person's right hand touching her right inner thigh over her skirt in a scratching motion," said the DPP.

The woman grabbed Shen's hand and shouted for help before alighting at Bishan station.

She told him to get off as well.

A male commuter, who noticed the commotion, also left the train to assist the woman.

The police were later alerted.

SPUR OF THE MOMENT

Defence lawyer Raphael Louis told District Judge Marvin Bay his client committed the act of molestation at the spur of the moment, and the offence did not involve skin-to-skin contact.

The lawyer also said it was Shen's first brush with the law.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Bay said he was "mindful of Dr Shen's contributions to geotechnological sciences and the construction industry in this country".

However, the judge noted that Shen should have known better due to his age.

"I do note that the offence was committed in our public transport network and it is essential that all commuters should feel safe and protected from unwanted groping, touches, scratches, or other acts of molestation while using our public transport system," said Judge Bay.

For molestation, Shen could have been jailed for up to two years and fined or caned. - THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME