Published: 01 March 2016
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in the past three years, how many cases of molestation in MRT trains have been reported; (b) what are the plans to cut down on these cases; and (c) whether warning signs can be put up in train carriages to alert commuters.
1. Over the past three years, there has been an annual average of 71 outrage of modesty cases on MRT and LRT trains. There were 65 cases in 2013, 79 cases in 2014 and 69 cases last year. These numbers have to be seen in the context of an increasing number of passenger trips on trains over the years, with almost 3 million passenger trips daily on trains. The number of outrage of modesty cases on trains represent about 5% of the total number of outrage of modesty cases reported annually.
2. Police officers from the Public Transport Security Command (or TransCom), a specialist unit within the SPF commissioned in 2009, conduct patrols within the public transport network to project police presence. This helps to deter and detect crime, including cases of outrage of modesty. Police have also been active in their crime prevention outreach to commuters. Police display posters on trains and train station platforms, screen videos and conduct crime prevention roadshows in train stations and bus interchanges to raise commuters' vigilance against crime, including outrage of modesty. Commuters are reminded to be aware of their surroundings, look out for suspicious persons and to take steps to protect themselves from being victims of crime. Our assessment is that the current level of crime prevention messages is sufficient and there is no need at present to include warning signs in trains.
3. The maximum penalty for outrage of modesty is two years' imprisonment or a fine or caning, or any combination of these punishments. This increases to five years' imprisonment if the victim is under 14 years of age. The courts have been meting out stiff sentences for those convicted of molestation on trains.