SINGAPORE - Barely an hour into their first date at Jurong Bird Park, an accountant took the chance to fondle his date and molested her in the park.
He first tried to touch her genitals after a hug, but she stopped him.
However, that did not deter him from unhooking her bra while hugging her, and trying to look down her dress.
When they returned to his car, he molested her again at the carpark - this time by touching her breast.
On Thursday (July 26), Paul Cheng Jun Hong, 29, was sentenced to five months' jail after he pleaded guilty to molestation.
The district court heard that Cheng had met his victim, a 28-year-old woman, through the online dating application, Coffee Meets Bagel.
The two started chatting on July 24 last year, and Cheng tried to schedule a date with her on the same day.
Although the woman initially refused as it would "be too fast", Cheng persisted, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo.
The victim, who cannot be named due to a gag order, eventually agreed.
He picked her up from work at about 5.30pm that day and suggested that they go to Jurong Bird Park as it was near her church, which she had to go to later.
"On their way there, the accused tickled the victim's ear and asked if she felt uncomfortable with it," said DPP Yeo.
She said she did not know, as she never had a boyfriend before.
They arrived at the park some time after 5.45pm, and Cheng hugged and touched her multiple times in the park.
Even after she pushed his hands away and told him she was uncomfortable, Cheng continued to molest her.
At around 6pm, he again molested her by touching her breast while they were outside his car.
She then moved away from him, and asked him to drive her to a nearby MRT station.
She later deleted the dating app and blocked Cheng on WhatsApp.
She lodged a police report the next day.
In mitigation, defence counsel Phillip Lam said Cheng had apologised to the victim and offered to compensate her for the embarrassment caused at a "very early stage".
However, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said she did not find any exceptional circumstances to reduce his sentence.
Cheng could have been jailed for up to two years and fined or caned, for assault or use of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.