Lee Sze Chiat a senior investigation officer with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) was sentenced to a year’s jail and one stroke of the cane on Tuesday, November 19, for sexual offences against female suspects in police custody. Prosecution called his actions “a callous dereliction of duty”.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of molesting a female suspect and another of engaging in conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, by engaging in sexual activity with a female detainee in police custody.
The court heard that Lee joined the force in July 2002 and was a senior investigation officer at Jurong Police Divisional Headquarters, with the rank of senior staff sergeant, at the time of the offences.
Two female suspects, whose identities are protected by gag order, were arrested on December 6, 2017, on suspicion that they had been providing sexual services.
They were escorted to Jurong Police Divisional Headquarters where Lee worked to assist in police investigations.
Even though Lee was not rostered or formally assigned to perform any investigative duties in relation to the arrests of the women, aged 28 and 29, he heard about the arrests and offered to help.
The investigative team accepted his offer and forwarded the arrest report of the two women to him.
At about 11pm, Lee escorted the 28-year-old woman from the lockup in the basement to an interview room.
He closed the door behind him and interviewed her in the room, before asking her twice to approach him to give him a massage.
The woman refused, and Lee stood up and locked the door of the interview room, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Marshall Lim and Niranjan Ranjakunalan.
He then went over to the bench where the woman was seated and told her that there were no closed-circuit television cameras installed inside the room.
He presented his back to her and asked her to massage him. While reluctant, the woman ultimately agreed, as she did not want to turn down the request from a police officer.
The woman raised her voice and told Lee to stop when he started molesting her chest. He told her to lower her voice, then put her hands on his privates and asked for “services”.
The woman pulled her hands away and told Lee to stop, shocked that he would make such a request in the police station.
Lee also pulled open the woman’s collar to peek at her chest.
After this interview, Lee took over custody of the second victim from another investigation officer.
Halfway through the interview in the room, Lee instructed the 29-year-old woman to walk over to him and masturbate him.
The woman was reluctant but agreed as she did not want to turn down a request from a police officer.
After this, Lee asked her to perform a sex act on him, and she again did so despite her reluctance.
The first victim told another investigation officer about what had happened a few days after the incident, and was advised to report the matter, which she did.
The prosecution had asked for at least 13 months’ jail and one stroke of the cane, calling the facts in this case “disquieting”.
“It is shocking that a police officer of the accused’s seniority could commit such abhorrent offences,” said the prosecution.
An officer tasked with upholding the law who flouts it must be dealt with sternly to send a strong message to others in his position that such conduct will not be tolerated, they added.
For using criminal force to outrage a woman’s modesty, Lee could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or given any combination of such penalties.
For engaging in conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline under the Police Force Act, he could have been jailed for up to six months, fined a maximum of S$1,000 or both. (Source: CNA)