SINGAPORE - A construction worker who molested two maids after following them into the lift was jailed for four years and ordered to be given nine strokes of the cane yesterday.
Bangladeshi national Zakir Hossain Nurul Hoque, 29, restrained his "girlfriends" as they returned to their employers' homes near Tanjong Pagar, before repeatedly squeezing their breasts and kissing them on the cheek.
On the first occasion on May 30 last year, he approached a 25-year-old Myanmar national as she was walking back to a block of flats.
At the lift lobby, he asked her twice to sit with him and grabbed her hand the second time but she turned him down.
Once inside the lift, he hugged her from behind and groped her through her clothes, only letting go after she bit his finger.
Three days later, Zakir Hossain tried unsuccessfully to befriend a 28-year-old Indonesian woman while she was washing her employer's vehicle but she warned him not to bother her.
She later refused his request to follow him and tried to return home but he dragged her out of the lift and molested her at a staircase landing.
He hugged her, held her hand and crossed his leg over hers to prevent her from moving.
He took her to the stairwell and tried to sit her down but stopped after she struggled and screamed at him.
Asking the court to impose a four-year sentence, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ruth Teng said that Zakir Hossain had intruded on his victims in an intimate manner.
Pleading for leniency, Zakir Hossain told the court his family was dependent on his income. This included medical treatment fees for his father and money to put his siblings through school.
Zakir Hossain referred to each women as his "girlfriend".
He pleaded guilty to two counts of molestation by wrongful restraint, with an unrelated charge of behaving in a riotous manner taken into consideration.
The prescribed penalty for the offence is between two years and 10 years in jail as well as caning, with the minimum jail term raised to three if committed in a lift.
This article was first published on May 27, 2014.
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