One Touch And You’re In Trouble: Expats Prime Targets In Molest Scams

Source: The Straits Times 03 September 2011

His hands on her waist, they swayed to the music at a crowded, dimly lit nightclub.

Maybe this Westerner was bumped. Or perhaps he was drunk or feeling cheeky when his hand slipped across her breast. Or did it? There is rising concern from some quarters that women are making false claims of molestation in order to extort money from foreign men.

At least two foreign missions here, the British High Commission and French Embassy, have issued grim warnings on their websites. The British website reads: ‘Travellers are advised to avoid any action that could be interpreted as molestation. Scams involving false claims of molestation are thought to exist.’

Who’s telling the truth?

‘When there are 200 to 300 people in a small space, things happen. Ultimately, someone is lying and someone is telling the truth. We can’t judge. We can only ask if they want to make a report.’

A security officer for a Clark Quay club

The French website states: ‘Behaviour towards women, especially in public, should never be ambiguous. There has been an increase in cases where the victim proposes to not file a complaint of molestation in exchange for immediate financial compensation.’

Even popular Australia-based travel websites such as World Nomads have warned of such scams.

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  • The penalty if charged is up to two years in jail, caning, fines or a combination.
  • settlement for molest charge out of court ranges from $5000-10000 to a max of $15000.
  • One of these settlements involved a spanish man who paid ‘a few thousand dollars” to an indonesian woman who accused him of inappropriately touching her – according to a security guard for a Clark Quay club.
  • Another case reported involved Hyatt bar Brix when a woman accused a man of touching her, the man settled out of court by paying $10,000.

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