Singapore—The victim in the latest high-profile case of molestation by a university student has expressed surprise that a handwritten apology letter from the molester, supposedly addressed to her, was published in a daily newspaper as she has never seen it.
Karmen Siew wrote on Sunday, September 29,
“This is the first time I have heard of a handwritten apology. I was never given a copy and had no idea it existed prior to Shinmin bringing it up. Is it even acceptable to release such a letter, now that the appeal court will review the case?”
Chinese daily Shin Min News reported on Saturday, September 28, that the letter, allegedly from Terence Siow Kai Yuan, had been used as part of the defence’s mitigation at the sentencing of Mr Siow. The newspaper said it sent Ms Siew a copy of the letter through a messaging application.
She told The New Paper (TNP), “I think it’s strange that a handwritten letter that was supposedly meant for me did not reach me, but instead got to Shin Min first.”
Last week, the public came to know about Mr Siow’s molestation charges after District Judge Jasvender Kaur rejected the prosecution’s call for a custodial sentence and instead handed down the decision for supervised probation for him instead.
The actions of Mr Siow, a 23-year-old NUS student, were described by the District Judge as “minor intrusions” and she also mentioned that Mr Siow’s academic potential showed the possibility that he would “excel in life”.
He was given 21 months of supervised probation after pleading guilty to one charge of outraging the modesty of Ms Siew, age 28. On September 12, 2018, while on the train on the North East Line heading towards Punggol station, he touched her legs at least twice. When she got off at Serangoon station, he followed her and touched her buttocks as she was on the escalator.
Ms Siew later filed a police report against him.
At his sentencing Judge Kaur said, “I think there can be no doubt that there is extremely strong propensity for reform. He was 22 years old when he committed the offences… and the nature of the acts (is) relatively minor.”
She told Mr Siow, “I have every confidence you will not re-offend and hope you don’t disappoint me.”
In response to the sentence, Ms Siew told The New Paper (TNP) that she was “disappointed but not surprised.”
But the reaction to Mr Siow only receiving probation has not been favourable, with one netizen, Kyle Leung, who started a petition with change.org entitled, “Say NO to Favorable Sentences for “Educated” Sex Offenders.”
The petition has struck a chord with many, and there are now over 70,000 signatories as of the writing of this article.
On Friday, September 27, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) officers disagreed with the decision and plan on filing an appeal.
Mr Shanmugam made his views public on his Facebook page, wherein he said that he was surprised with the decision giving Terence Siow Kai Wan probation as well.
The New Paper reports that Mr Siow said in his apology,
“I wasn’t the most clear-headed that night, and as a result I ended up being unable to control myself and ultimately gave in to my urges.
Words can’t express how regretful and remorseful I am for my actions that day.
This is a major turning point in my life, and I am fully committed to correcting my mentality and behaviour to become a changed man.”
Read related: K Shanmugam ‘surprised’ at molest probation verdict for NUS student, says AGC will appeal decision
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