MOE scholar arrested last month for lewd act

By Rachel Chan

WHAT's done is done, a Ministry of Education (MOE) teaching scholar who allegedly carried out lewd acts in front of a fellow National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate told my paper on the phone on Tuesday.

my paper understands that Garett Kwok Yi Jun, 23, was arrested on Feb 17 - the same day that a police report on the incident was lodged by the victim.

His alleged deeds have sparked a flurry of discussion on popular online forum Hardwarezone.com after my paper broke the news on March 4.

Kwok, who is believed to be a third-year history major from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said he was upset that some netizens had slammed him for "play(ing computer) games every day" and "do(ing) project work as per normal."

When contacted on Tuesday, he said: "You have to get on with life. If you're doing project work, you are responsible for your project mates' grades as well. Of course, I have to continue doing my part as per normal."

His parents are learning to accept the implications of his alleged actions, such as the possibility that his MOE scholarship will be revoked.

"What's done is done," said Kwok.

He is currently out on police bail. The police said that investigations are ongoing.

On Feb 16, the victim was said to have been walking on a lower level of the sprawling five-storey Kent Ridge Campus' Central Library when she saw Kwok walking towards her.

She realised that something was amiss only when he got near. She saw him not only exposing himself to her, but also carrying out an obscene act.

The victim sought help from a librarian, who apprehended Kwok in the vicinity after a short search. The police report was lodged the next day.

In earlier replies, MOE and NUS said they were aware of the case.

MOE said that it expects its teaching scholars to conduct themselves in a manner that "upholds the standards of the teaching profession".

The MOE spokesman said: "(We) will take the necessary disciplinary actions against those who have behaved inappropriately."

When contacted yesterday, MOE did not address the possibility of Kwok's scholarship being revoked.

An NUS spokesman said that the well-being of its students is of "utmost importance", and added that the university is assisting the police in the matter.

Late last year, another MOE scholar came under the spotlight for possessing child pornography on his computer while reading history at the University of York in Britain.

Jonathan Wong, 23, was given a suspended six-month sentence by a British court last December and lost his scholarship.

He pleaded guilty to 17 charges of downloading child pornography between July 15, 2008 and March 19 last year.

That same month, National Institute of Education trainee teacher Aaron Kok Chun Cheong was jailed here for having sex with two underage girls he met online a few years ago.

Kok was jailed for 15 months on Dec 28 last year.

If charged and convicted under Section 509 of the Penal Code, Kwok faces a maximum punishment of one year's jail and a fine.


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