A foreign researcher, who formerly worked with the National University of Singapore (NUS), was fined $3000 in court yesterday after pleading guilty to squeezing the buttocks of a 29-year-old beer promoter.
The offence occurred at a Woodlands coffee shop on 22 July, around 6.30pm. The defendant – Dymkou Siarhei, a 39-year-old Belarusian – arrived at the foodhouse in the afternoon and began consuming good and alcohol, before calling out to the victim to order two bottles of beer.
Since Siarhei was a frequent patron who had a reputation for flirting with beer promoters, the victim was wary and kept her distance. She placed the bottles on his table and asked for $13.20.
Under the guise that he couldn’t hear the price of the beer, Siarhei insisted that the beer promoter move closer to him and repeat the price of the beer. Asserting that he would not make payment if the victim did not move closer, Siarhei made the victim repeat the price to him eight times.
Siarhei finally paid her but as the victim was counting the money, he molested her.
The defendant was reportedly reprimanded by a few patrons who saw what he had done. A commotion ensued between Siarhei and other patrons, whereupon the police arrived at the scene and arrested Siarhei for molesting the beer promoter.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Xiang argued for a minimum fine of $3,000 fine to be imposed, highlighting that the victim was subjected to “persistent harassment.”
He called for a sentence that would deter future such offences, citing the significant increase in outrage of modesty cases so far this year, as reported by the Singapore Police Force.
Defense lawyer Lim Fung Peen called the offence a “one-off” and “out of character” for his client. He added that Siarhei had been under tremendous work stress at the time and has since lost his NUS research job, following the offence.
Interestingly, Siarhei’s staff profile is still up on NUS’ Temasek Laboratories website:
District Judge Lim Tse Haw said that the fact that Siarhei squeezed the buttocks of the victim was more aggravating than a mere slap, and accepted the prosecution’s proposal of a $3000 fine.
Defendants charged for outrage of modesty face a maximum of two years’ jail, a fine, and/or caning.