This predator has been in and out of jail for crimes like molest and outrage of modesty three times since 1998.
Yesterday, Muhammad Harzan Mahat, 32, started term No. 4 after being sentenced to 10 years' corrective training (CT) and nine strokes of the cane.
He had pleaded guilty to one count of outrage of modesty.
CT is a prison regime for repeat offenders and does not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.
In the latest case, on Nov 9 last year, Harzan loitered outside Clementi MRT station, looking out for a victim.
At about 3pm, he followed a woman, 26, who caught his attention. He trailed her to a nearby block of flats.
He followed her into a lift at the first storey. As the lift went up, he pulled down his shorts to expose himself.
He then moved towards the terrified woman and used his left hand to molest her.
She hit his hand and screamed. Seeing this, Harzan covered her mouth with his hand and turned her body to face him. He continued molesting her even though she was struggling.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Siti Adrianni Marhain said: "In the course of the struggle, the victim fell to the lift door and the lift door then opened at the fifth (storey). The victim tried to crawl out of the lift and screamed for help.
"(Harzan) used one of his hands to cover her mouth and he also tried pulling the victim back inside the lift towards him."
A 65-year-old man, who lives in a fifth-storey flat near the lift lobby, heard the commotion and turned towards the noise. He saw the woman lying on the floor, with Harzan pinning her down.
The witness immediately unlocked his gate and rushed to the lobby.
But by the time he reached the victim, Harzan had already fled down a nearby flight of stairs.
The woman made a police report at around 3pm that day and officers arrested Harzan at his home the next day.
The court heard that he was first convicted of outrage of modesty in 1998 and was sent to a juvenile home for three years.
He committed the same offence soon afterwards and was jailed for eight years and caned in 2001.
In 2007, he was given a seven-year CT for outrage of modesty, theft and committing an obscene act.
In his mitigation, his lawyer, Mr Eugene Thuraisingam told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan that his client has "mild mental retardation with dissocial personality disorder and past history of conduct disorder".
The lawyer said that it "would be entirely gratuitous to impose caning" due to his mental condition.
"What (he) needs is a period of rehabilitation and medical care so that he can, if possible, be nursed back to mental health."
This article was first published on May 6, 2015.
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