Trigger warning: stalking, suicide, mentions of self-harm.
The offender, Leow Jin Jie, was the Investigation Officer for a 19-year-old girl who had attempted suicide in 2017.
For nearly three weeks, he abused his authority to stalk and harass the teenage girl, and even sent her inappropriate messages.
Apparently, he did this to “test if he still had appeal with women” after encountering problems in his marriage. Which he obviously doesn’t.
Asked for Her Number After Taking Her Statement
In late September 2017, Leow was assigned to investigate the teenage girl for the offence of attempted suicide. Back then, it was a criminal offence, but is no longer illegal since 2020 after amendments were made to the Penal Code.
The teen’s father found her in her bedroom with cuts on her arms, and had two previous attempts of suicide. Back then, she also recently underwent an abortion. It was obvious that the teenage girl was extremely vulnerable at that point in time.
When the victim was just discharged from the Institute of Mental Health, Leow visited her home and asked to take her statement in private at the dining table.
With the pair being left alone, Leow then sat next to her to take the statement. Despite knwoing that he would be harassing her if he contacted the girl for non-investigative purposes, he asked for the girl’s phone number, and gave her his own number too.
Kept Sending Messages for Personal Purposes
The next day, Leow began sending her messages through WhatsApp, a behaviour which would last for at least three weeks. These messages ranged from asking about her wellbeing, to questioning her daily routines and personal life, which made her feel harassed.
He even told her to not “be naughty” or make him angry, which made her felt intimidated. The girl also felt like he was trying to control her by saying that she was a “good girl”, presumably if she did what he told her to.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon, the victim “felt insulted when he commented on her body, and distressed as he would keep trying to meet her.”
Additionally, he even sent semi-sexual suggestions, like asking her to use a sanitary pad instead of a tampon. He also asked her to use Snapchat, which automatically erases messages after they are viewed.
To add to her distress, whenever she took some time to respond to his texts, he would scold her for not replying quickly. Meanwhile, he replied to her texts within seconds or minutes, as if he had been waiting for them.
Stalked and Sent Pictures of Her
In mid-October 2017, the victim was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital for a checkup.
She had been annoyed at his incessant messages, and declined to give him her ward number after telling him she had been hospitalised. Leow then played the police officer card and said he could check if he wanted to… but refrained out of respect for her.
Well, if that isn’t a clear sign of manipulative behaviour, I don’t know what is.
He went to the hospital to conduct investigations for an unrelated case, and sent her a picture of the car park. He then told her he would wait for her there.
When she didn’t meet him and instead went to a smoking corner with her mother, Leow stalked her and took a picture of her surroundings. Sending it to her and telling her she looked cute, the victim felt scared and harassed.
It was then that she finally told her mother about what was going on. She then blocked his number and deleted their text messages, which spanned 18 days.
Mother Asked for Female Officer
The next year, in November 2019, the victim once again attempted suicide.
Her mother then asked for a female investigation officer, telling the police that Leow had sent inappropriate messages. The victim’s mother was then advised by the police to lodge a report against Leow.
According to DPP Poon, the victim didn’t cut off Leow completely till the stalking incident, because he was much older than her. Additionally, his authority as a police officer and her investigation officer made her scared of the consequences, were she to report.
This was, no doubt, a gross abuse of his authority to manipulate a very emotionally vulnerable teenage girl.
Had Received Many Awards as a Stellar SPF Officer
DPP Poon told the court that Leow abused his position from the very start of their interaction, and asked for 20 to 30 days’ jail.
However, the defence counsel asked for no more than seven days’ jail. They reasoned that Leow was a stellar officer in the police force that had received numerous awards, and was a good contributor to society.
It was revealed that he has been a police officer since 2009, and was with the Jurong Investigation Branch at the time of his offence. He then went on to become a community policing unit officer, but he’ll likely get fired after his conviction.
Additionally, because the poor victim didn’t give an impact statement, the defence counsel argued that she suffered no further harm or distress apart from being harassed and scared.
They argued that the victim didn’t have to adjust her lifestyle to avoid Leow. The counsel also pointed out that Leow only did this because he wanted to see if he still had value with women after marriage problems.
Uh, I’m not sure why the defense counsel thought this would help their case…
District Judge Dora Tay emphased in her sentencing that Leow knew his actions were likely to cause harassment. In the end, Leow pleaded guilty to a single charge of unlawful stalking and was sentenced to 20 days’ jail.
He could have been jailed up to a year, and or fined up to $5,000.
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