'It was like wrestling'

She stopped to take a closer look at a commotion on Thursday evening.

A man had been pinned to the ground by a few passers-by on the grass verge below the train tracks near Admiralty MRT station.

Ms Siti Khadijah Lim instinctively took out her mobile phone to snap pictures of the drama unfolding near Block 683B, Woodlands Avenue 6.

The 33-year-old told The New Paper yesterday: "It was like a wrestling match. He was strong because when he struggled (to get up), the three or four passers-by had a hard time holding him down."

Her photographs were later posted on the citizen journalism website Stomp.

VICTIM IN TEARS

That evening, Ms Siti, who runs a bakery, learnt more about the incident from a teenager.

Earlier, the same teen was in her school uniform and had been crying at the scene.

The 19-year-old girl had apparently been molested. She told Ms Siti that she was walking home when the man allegedly "smiled and hugged her".

The police confirmed yesterday that the victim was allegedly molested by a stranger at about 6.35pm.

The suspect, 23, had tried to befriend her at Woodlands Avenue 6. She went home and told her father what the man was said to have done and they went looking for him.

They saw him at Woodlands Avenue 6, where he was restrained with the help of passers-by.

Ms Siti said: "He spoke in a foreign language... but I could make out that he was saying 'sorry, sorry' in English."

His desperate plea for forgiveness fell on deaf ears.

MINI TRAFFIC JAM

Ms Siti said the girl's father shot back at the suspect: "What sorry? That's my daughter you touched. I won't let you go."

Across the road at Nur Barber House, two barbers said they found out about the incident from their customers.

One of them, who had declined to be named, said: "Before the police arrived, there was a small crowd of about 30 people. The drama caused a mini traffic jam when drivers stopped their cars along the road to have a look."

When the police arrived, they took the suspect into custody.

Ms Siti said:"I feel proud that people actually helped to catch the suspect. In most cases, Singaporeans would normally 'act blur'."

The police also praised the passers-by for helping to apprehend the suspect.

In a statement yesterday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Wilson Lim of Jurong Police Division "commended the victim for being courageous in raising the alarm, and the members of the public for their swift action in coming forward to assist in detaining the suspect".

Those who encounter such crimes should shout for help to attract the attention of people nearby or approach them for help. They should also take note of the suspect's physical description and call the police as soon as it is safe to do so, he added.

The suspect is expected to be charged today for outrage of modesty.

If found guilty, he can be jailed up to two years, fined and caned.

zaihan@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 19 in The New Paper.

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