Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Sep 24, 2019

A travelling monk, who often comes to Singapore to read scriptures at various Buddhist temples here, molested a woman in Geylang, a district court heard on Tuesday (Sept 24).

Nepalese Tamang Dawa, 42, was sentenced to five months’ jail after pleading guilty to a molestation charge.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ashraf Hassan said Tamang entered Singapore as a tourist on July 6. He wanted to renew his visa here so that he could travel to Taiwan for worship purposes.

According to Tamang, he had consumed six glasses of beer at a coffee shop shortly before committing the offence.

He was walking near a Geylang hotel around 11.30pm on July 11 when the 28-year-old woman signalled him to go over to her stall.

She had set up a makeshift stall in the area but court documents did not say what she was then selling. She cannot be named due to a gag order.

The DPP said the monk went over to the woman’s table and she started showing something to him on the table. Just as she was bending over and talking to him, he groped her breast.

The woman immediately swiped Tamang’s hand away and shouted to a man who was sitting nearby.

Her cries also attracted the attention of a passer-by, who asked her what happened.

The man and the passer-by then ran after the monk and detained him.

Two police officers later came across the incident and arrested Tamang.

The monk was represented by lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation.

Mr Tan told District Judge Jasvender Kaur their client was “very remorseful” and pleaded for not more than five months’ jail.

He added: “He has since rebuked himself for bringing disgrace to his Nepalese master monk and to all that he stands for.”

For molestation, Tamang could have been jailed for up to two years and be fined or caned.