TAKING advantage of the festive mood, a construction worker molested a stranger on New Year's Day.
Parthiban Pandu hugged the 44-year-old victim from behind, and she thought it was just a friend.
He squeezed the woman's breasts as she was turning around to see who it was, and continued to molest her before she could react.
Yesterday, Parthiban, who is from India, was sentenced to 10 months' jail and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane.
The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to outraging his victim's modesty just after midnight on Jan 1.
The court heard that the incident took place in a recreation centre for foreign workers in Soon Lee Road, in Boon Lay.
As he drank with a friend at the carpark, Parthiban noticed more than 50 people celebrating the new year at the coffee shop in the centre. He entered the coffee shop, where the victim and others were spraying confetti. He then molested her.
During police investigations, Parthiban said that he had acted "out of fun and celebration".
Assistant Public Prosecutor Koh Huimin told the court this showed Parthiban was unremorseful.
Highlighting police statistics, Ms Koh said there had been 1,367 outrage of modesty cases last year, a 3.2 per cent increase from 1,325 cases in 2013.
Pleading for leniency, Parthiban said he was the sole breadwinner in his family.
He added that it had been 40 days since he last made a call to his mother, who recently underwent surgery on her stomach and is not well.
He said the victim was of his mother's age. Parthiban could have been jailed for up to two years, fined and caned.
This article was first published on Feb 10, 2015.
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