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SINGAPORE: A man followed a stranger he saw on a train, alighting at her stop and following closely behind her before attempting to carry her to a corner of a car park to express his feelings.

Tran Xuan Bang, 22, was sentenced to two years’ jail and three strokes of the cane on Friday (Oct 21) for one count of using criminal force to outrage the victim’s modesty. Another charge was considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Tran, a cook from Vietnam, was on a train along the East West Line on the morning of Sep 16 this year when he saw the victim.

The 21-year-old woman had been drinking with her friends and was on her way home. When she alighted at Kallang MRT station, Tran also alighted, even though he was heading to Pasir Ris.

He approached the victim when she was trying to cross the road and spoke to her in Vietnamese, but she did not understand him.

Not wanting to prolong the conversation, the victim smiled and said “hi”.

However, Tran continued to follow her, walking so closely behind that she could feel him pressing against her back.

She felt uncomfortable and quickened her pace, but Tran kept up, the prosecutor said. 

The victim told Tran to go away and extended her hand to put some distance between them, but he continued to follow her.

The victim entered a car park at about 6.40am, which was her usual route home, and Tran followed her in footage captured on police cameras.

Tran grabbed the victim’s arms and waist and wanted to pull her to a corner where they could not be seen.

He planned to express his feelings and enter into a relationship with the victim.

The victim repeatedly broke free of his grasp, so Tran decided to carry her instead. He grabbed the victim’s waist and thigh from behind and lifted her off the ground, carrying her four to five steps before setting her down.

The victim kept resisting, but Tran persisted. In the struggle, he inserted his hand down the victim’s skirt and molested her.

He eventually cornered the victim and spread his arms to block her way. The victim knew she was not a fast runner and did not attempt to run, said the prosecution.

It was only when another woman walked past that the victim screamed for help and Tran released her. He then fled and the victim went home before going to lodge a police report with her mother.

Tran later returned to the car park to look for the victim but could not find her and went home. He was arrested later and remanded.

The victim suffered psychological harm as a result of the incident, feeling angry, shocked, helpless and violated, the court heard.

The prosecutor asked for 24 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane, saying the offence was highly premeditated and was preceded by a pattern of behaviour of escalating boldness.