We often tell our children about ‘safe’ strangers, people they can approach if ever in crisis. Policemen are the safest strangers we know. So what does a young impressionable girl do when the ‘policeman’ she thought she could trust, turns out to be an impersonator and pervert instead?
Man pretends to be cop in Singapore
According to Today Online, on May 29, 2013, the 11-year-old girl and her younger sister were walking to school along Mattar Road, when they were accosted by Liew Tien Chye, who pulled up beside them in a black Mazda.
He introduced himself to them as a police officer, quickly flashing a shiny white photo card. To sound convincing, he even rattled away the names of the school and the principal to the children.
He next told the older girl to get into his car and asked the younger sister to go to school by herself. They fell for his story and obediently followed his instructions.
While in the car, Liew told the girl that he was investigating cases of underage smoking and wanted to know if she smoked. She suggested that he could check her mouth for cigarette smell or to examine her bag for cigarettes. Liew appreciated the girl for her smartness.
Took her to abandoned warehouse
He then took the girl to an abandoned warehouse along Tannery Lane and asked her to get in.
As per The Straits Times report, Liew entered the warehouse soon after, holding a green first aid box. He instructed the girl to sit on the floor and wrapped a bandage around her eyes.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam, Liew next asked the girl to open her mouth and inserted a bottle of sterile wash. He enquired if she was able to see him. She replied in the negative.
He took the bottle out after a few seconds. What happened next was shocking. He asked her to open her mouth again and put his private parts on her lips. The girl sensed danger and immediately took off the bandage. She saw him turning around and pulling up and fastening his pants.
Shocked and disgusted, she shouted at him and asked him what he had done. When asked if he was really a policeman, he had the audacity to retort that he was.
She took her bag from the car and made her way home alone from the abandoned warehouse. Along the way, she broke down and kept crying. She informed her parents about the incident as soon as she reached home.
On Wednesday, January 11, 43-year-old Liew, a sales manager, was sentenced to 8 years and 10 weeks in jail, as well as three strokes of the cane. He was convicted of eight charges – one count each of kidnapping, impersonating a public servant, attempting to commit sexual assault on a minor and another five counts of cheating and corruption.
Girl still traumatised
As per Today Online, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jesintha Veijayaratnam noted that Liew had robbed the victim and her family of all sense of security.
Life has not been the same for this girl, who still feels scared and traumatised. The once happy and cheerful child is now introverted and unable to focus on her studies.
District Judge Shawn Ho noted that we should all be able to walk on our streets without fear at any time. Kidnapping in Singapore is rare and Liew’s attempted sexual assault of the victim in an abandoned warehouse was heinous, he added.
It is hard to believe that a father of four can actually resort to such disgusting crimes. Yet people like Liew exist, and we should teach our children to be wary of such criminals.
What are some common tricks abductors use to kidnap children? Go to the next page to find out…
Today’s world may be advanced but it is also scary as hell. Our little ones are at danger of being preyed upon by paedophiles and other anti-social elements. How can we teach our children to be stranger smart and to not fall for an abductor’s ploys? Here are some common tricks that abductors use to lure children:
- Acts like he needs help: He could be all nice and smiling. He could ask for directions, or pretend to need help with carrying his groceries. Children should be suspicious of any stranger who asks for their help. When adults need help, they usually turn to other adults and not kids.
- Bribes you with gifts and promises: It could be a promise to buy ice cream. Or it could be candy or other gifts. An abductor usually resorts to such methods to convince the child that he is a friend and a good person. His hidden agenda might be to persuade the child to go somewhere alone with him.
- “Your mummy is in hospital, come with me”: One of the most commonly cooked up stories is about an emergency at home. The abductor might claim that one of the parents has met with an accident and the child needs to go to the hospital with him. Or it could be “your mummy sent me to pick you up.” Small children should be taught to never believe such lies.
Some parents teach their kids an “emergency password”, which they can use in case they really need to pass a message to their children. So if a stranger accosts them with such stories, the kids can ask for the “password”. If the person does not know it, the child should get away from him as soon as possible.
- The impersonator : As in this case, the abductor will pretend to be a trusted person, a person of authority like a policeman. Children would not think there is any danger in getting into a car with a police officer who has just shown them a card.
Before blindly getting into the car, the child should verify the authenticity of the uniform and the vehicle. And enquire why she is being asked to get in. Children should learn to examine the situation and use their judgement.
- Use of force: Some abductors will use force and threaten the victim with a weapon like a knife or a gun. They can even forcibly pull the victim into their car or van. This usually happens in isolated areas where there are no witnesses, and the victim’s cries cannot be heard.
Children should avoid secluded places when going to or coming back from school. They should also be alert and vigilant at all times. A confident attitude will put off many criminals who mostly prey on confused, lost or distracted children. Body language is a good indicator of the child’s personality; inattentive people usually make easy targets.
Also READ: Be wary of perverts in Singapore
(Source: The Straits Times, Today Online)
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