With the law as stringent as it is in Singapore, the huge price tag that comes with breaking it often invokes a second thought in offenders before committing their act. However, for one Pulanthiradas K Manikam, that price tag did not deter him from molesting three women within a span of an hour and a man.
Like a predator on a hunt, the 55-year-old Singaporean started his molesting spree at about 10.40am on January 9 last year. According to Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Marshall Lim, he said the jobless man had walked into a clothes store at ION Orchard and approached a 24-year-old female staff member who was sorting clothes on a rack.
After mumbling some words to her, he pulled her towards him by her torso, and held her tightly in his grasp as she struggled to break free.
He eventually released her and left the store, and the colleague whom the victim confided in after the incident alerted the police.
Pulanthiradas proceeded to roam the stretch of Orchard Road before ending up outside a shop at Shaw Centre, where he accosted a 47-year-old woman, reached out his arm and grabbed her crotch.
Despite her shouting at and tapping the man on his back, he remained indifferent and continued walking. She decided to trail him and witnessed the man reaching out towards another woman’s chest outside a restaurant.
She then decided to call the police, informing them that the man was “molesting everyone here”.
He was later arrested and scheduled to plead guilty to his acts on March 8 this year. However, while out on bail, he re-offended, this time outraging the modesty of an 18-year-old man, exactly a week before the scheduled date.
In this incident, Pulanthiradas approached the male victim at a traffic light along Chin Swee Road and asked him out for drinks. When the male victim declined his invitation, Pulanthiradas commented on his figure and made suggestive comments towards him, all of which were ignored by the victim.
But Pulanthiradas did not stop there. He followed the victim to the lift lobby of his residence, where he put his hand beneath the younger man’s shorts and underwear and grabbed his buttock.
The police managed to track down Pulanthiradas again when the male victim lodged a police report following the day of the incident.
DPP Lim also told the court that accused showed a “disregard for the law, and a disregard for the judicial system,” adding that “it is the right of every resident in this country to walk around without the fear of being violated.”
In his defense, the accused’s lawyer said his client had a history of mental health issues, only to be rebutted by DPP Lim when he stated that there was no medical evidence to prove that the accused’s condition had influenced his actions.
Ultimately, Pulanthiradas was sentenced to 11 months’ jail on Tuesday (May 15) after pleading guilty to three charges of outrage of modesty, with one more taken into consideration.
For a charge of outrage of modesty, he could be jailed up to two years, fined, caned, or be punished with the combination of the three.