More molest cases in buses and trains last year

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SINGAPORE - She had been riding the train to work on the East-West Line two weeks ago when the train pulled into Paya Lebar MRT station.

When Ms Amy Ho, 50 , stood sideways to allow other commuters to alight, she felt someone touch her chest. Ms Ho, who works part-time at a hair salon in Redhill, said: "I wanted to scream, but I was too shocked."

Before she could react, she had lost sight of the offender in the crowds.

Police said that more outrage- of-modesty cases were reported on board buses and trains last year, an increase of 34 per cent to 153 cases, compared to 2011. The previous year, the figure stood at 114 cases.

This was revealed in the Annual Crime Brief 2012 report released by the police yesterday.

Public Transport Council president Gerard Ee said that the rise in molestation cases on board buses and trains is likely due to the public-transport system being more crowded.

He told My Paper: "If there are more people in trains and buses, there might be occasions when people brush against each other.

"People may get irritated and decide to report it to the police, especially if the (accused) did not apologise."

The police said public-education materials, such as posters, banners and advertorials, have been prominently put up in places with large crowds, such as train stations and bus stops.

Women's-rights group Aware said it is "very concerned" by the rise in molestation cases on board buses and trains because it is "a big jump".

Aware's executive director, Ms Corinna Lim, said: "In cases that Aware has seen...cases of sexual violence such as sexual assault, rape and molestation have risen across the board."

She added: "The burden falls on all of us to become a more civilised society so that cases of sexual harassment will be reduced."

Spokesmen for transport operators SMRT and SBS Transit advise passengers whose modesty had been outraged to report the matter immediately to staff on duty or by calling the police.

Figures in the report also showed that outrage-of-modesty cases reported here increased by 1 per cent or 18 cases from 1,396 cases in 2011 to 1,414 cases last year.

Other findings include a rise in the total amount of money cheated from people in lucky-draw phone scams, increasing by about $1 million to $7.4 million last year. This was despite a slight drop in the number of such cases reported.

Overall crime reported last year dropped by 2 per cent to 30,868 cases, from 31,508 cases in 2011.

The number of murder cases, housebreaking and related crimes, as well as violent property crimes, dropped to their lowest in 20 years, said the report.


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