By Kua Chee Siong
IT WAS her day off and she was on her way to meet a friend.
She had boarded an SBS Transit service number 65 bus around 7 pm yesterday.
As the lower deck of the double-decker bus was packed, she headed to the upper deck and sat down beside a man who looked to her like a foreign worker.
The 7-Eleven store assistant usually plays with her mobile phone on bus journeys, but as the phone battery was flat, she decided to “close her eyes”.
She told The New Paper: “A short while later, I felt a hand on my left thigh. I opened my eyes and saw the man looking shocked.”
It struck her right away that he looked guilty. “He had one kind of a face,” she said.
The 28-year-old woman then went right down to the bus driver.
“I told him I had been molested and asked him for his handphone so that I could call the police and my friend.”
She called the police first to tell them what had happened. Then, she called her friend.
Acting on the woman’s complaint, the bus driver immediately stopped the bus at the next bus stop, just in front of Hoa Nam Building on Jalan Besar.
He said: “The woman came down and told me she was molested. I then stopped the bus and locked the doors.”
But as the bus was crowded, some passengers started to complain, he said.
The woman said that at this point, a man called out and said he needed to get to work. He asked the driver to open the doors for him.
And when the driver did that, some passengers also got off before he could close the door again.
It was then that the woman realised the alleged suspect had taken the opportunity to leave.
She said: “I quickly told the driver to open the door again and I ran after the man,shouting at him.
“I yelled to him, ‘bhaiya (brother in Hindi), come back here’.”
Caused a commotion
Her yelling created a commotion, forcing the man to stop.
Just as the man walked back to where she was, the police also arrived.
When TNP arrived at the scene, we saw the man sitting on kerb, just in front of the bus.He looked like he was in a daze.
A curious crowd of onlookers had gathered around the bus stop.
Police officers took the man to the bus and they headed to the upper deck.
It looked like they were getting him to describe to them what had happened.
About five minutes later they brought him down to the lower deck.
The man was made to sit at the back of the bus while they questioned the bus driver.
After that, they asked the woman to go to upper deck with them this time. She spoke animatedly and seemed to be re-enacting the scene for the police officers.
After she came down, she spoke to another investigating officer for a while before she left with her friend.
The man was later handcuffed and led out of the bus.
Police said they received a call around 7.30pm seeking assistance at a bus stop on Jalan Besar.
A police spokesman said: “A 36-year-old Bangladeshi man was subsequently arrested for outrage of modesty. Police are investigating.”
When contacted later, the woman said: “I felt really angry that the man dared to do this.
“I wanted to whack him, but I’m a woman.” But she doesn’t intend to tell her family members about the incident as she doesn’t want them to be worried.
She said: “I hope he gets punished for this so he can’t do this to another woman.”
Previous bus molest cases
March 7, 2011: A 26-year-old speech therapist spotted and confronted a 21-year-old foreigner who had allegedly molested her on a bus three days ago.
Oct 1, 2009: An 82-year-old man was arrested for molesting three women, including a 58-year-old, on bus service No 21.
Aug 12, 2009: A man in army uniform molested a 28-year-old teacher by doing a “tip-toe” walk with his fingers across her right breast. He got away but she saw him again a month later. The man was arrested after she called her boyfriend and they tailed him to a bus stop on Old Tampines Road.
This article was first published in The New Paper.