The 12-year-old was shocked but too scared to make a sound. All she could do was stare at the man who had just molested her.
Undeterred, Razak Ridwan - who was jobless at the time - returned her stare and later repeated the act on the girl's 26-year-old sister-in-law, who was standing nearby.
Yesterday, Razak was sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to outraging the modesty of the minor.
The offence against the older woman was taken into consideration.
The court heard that on Dec 31 last year, Razak approached the girl while she was playing with her niece and nephew outside her father's shop in Woodlands.
When the girl noticed the stranger standing to her right, she thought he needed more space to pass her and took a step to her left. Razak, however, reached out and touched her private parts through the front of her jeans. The victim moved away in shock, as Razak went on to commit the second offence.
The 47-year-old had previously been convicted of theft in dwelling and mischief in 1985 and 1987 respectively, but did not pay a total of $1,100 in fines for the offences.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Michelle Lu had called for a jail term and three strokes of the cane, but District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt spared Razak caning because he has a history of schizophrenia.
He could have been jailed for up to five years, fined and caned for outraging the modesty of someone under 14.
For similar offences against older victims, the maximum penalty is two years, a fine and caning.
This article was published on May 9 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.