Singapore— Senior Staff Sergeant Lee Sze Chiat was sentenced to one year in jail as well as one stroke of the cane on Tuesday, November 19, after having been convicted of molesting two women while they were in custody.
The 39-year-old police officer, had been on the force for 17 years but has been interdicted from service since December 2017.
Mr Lee was found to have groped one woman and forced another to perform sexual acts on him, while both women were in not only custody but while they were actually handcuffed. These offenses occurred in an interview room at Jurong Police Divisional Headquarters.
District Judge Christopher Tan called what Mr Lee did to the women a serious abuse of trust, The New Paper (TNP) says.
He took exception to the fact that the women had been in handcuffs while they were molested, saying, “What’s aggravating is that these restraints were actually physical strictures that the law empowers policemen to use to protect the innocent.
But they were used to subjugate her to fulfill his desires.”
Deputy Public Prosecutors Marshall Lim and Niranjan Ranjakunalan also expressed that the found Mr Lee’s behaviour shocking, and asked that he be given at least 13 months in jail, along with caning.
The two women, ages 28 and 29, and who are both Chinese nationals, were arrested on December 6, 2017. After their arrest they were brought to Jurong Police Divisional Headquarters.
Mr Lee, who had not been assigned to the women’s cases, offered to help out with investigations.
First, he took one woman to an interview room and started asking her questions concerning the “services” she offered.
He asked her to give him a massage, and when he told her there were no CCTV cameras in the room, she finally agreed. As she rubbed his shoulders, he turned to face her, and groped her over her clothes.
Although she yelled at him to stop, he asked her to perform “services” on him, and put her hands over his shorts, but the woman refused.
Later, Mr Lee took the second woman to the same interview room, where he asked her to perform sexual acts on him. As she did not want to turn down a policeman, the woman acquiesced after some time.
Five days after this occurred, the first woman called the Police Cantonment Complex to ask about a visa extension, usually given to a foreigner for such purposes such as aiding in an investigation. During the course of their conversation, the woman was counseled by a specialised crime branch officer to file a police report.
The prosecutors said that what Mr Lee had done is a “callous dereliction of duty.”
The Singapore Police Force has said that following his conviction, they have begun disciplinary hearings against Mr Lee.
A spokesman for the police told TNP that the police “takes the safety of arrested persons in police custody very seriously…This was an isolated case and does not represent the professional and disciplined conduct of the rest of our SPF officers,” and added that they have a “zero-tolerance approach to officers who break the law, and will not hesitate to take action against them in accordance with the law.” -/TISG