South Korean pastor in Penang faces another molest charge

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GEORGE TOWN: A South Korean pastor, who was charged with molesting two disabled men on Dec 18, was again charged with a similar offence at the Magistrate’s Court, here.

Jee Joon-hoon, 54, was alleged to have used criminal force to outrage the modesty of a man who was 20-years-old at the time, at a house along Lorong Delima 3 in Gelugor back in 2000.

He allegedly groped the victim’s private parts, hugged and kissed him.

The charge was made under Section 354 of the Penal Code for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person, punishable by up to 10 years’ jail, a fine, whipping, or any of the two, upon conviction.

The charge was not read to him due to the absence of an international sign language interpreter as the accused is deaf and mute.

As a result, no plea was recorded from the accused.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Shahrezal Mohd Shukri did not offer bail pending the presence of an international sign language interpreter.

“However, if the court decides to grant bail, we request for a high amount,” he said.

Jee’s counsel, G. Shanmugam, urged the court to grant bail, saying that the charge against his accused was a bailable offence.

“The prosecution decided to charge my client today but it looks like they are not ready for it (absence of an international sign language interpreter).

“My client was also charged with similar offences at the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court on Dec 18, and faced a similar situation.

“There, the prosecution offered RM10,000 bail, and upon mitigation, the magistrate allowed bail of RM5,000 with two sureties. I hope the court will allow similar bail.

“Also, my client had been out on bail since Dec 18 and still came to court on his own. This shows that he has no intentions of fleeing,” he added.

Shanmugam said Jee has been in Malaysia for the past 25 years and served as a volunteer with an allowance of RM3,000 and a roof over his head.

“Also, he has never been involved in any criminal cases and had never been arrested prior to this,” he added.

Magistrate Rosnee Mohd Ridzuan set bail at RM6,000 with two sureties and fixed Feb 9 for the presence of an international sign language interpreter.

She also ordered the accused to report himself to the nearest police station to his address once every month, and for him to not disturb the victims until the end of the case.

On Dec 18, Jee was charged with using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a 28-year-old man at the former’s apartment in Kampung Paya, Butterworth at about 12.20am in Oct 2013.

He allegedly groped the victim’s private parts, hugged and kissed him.

On the second count, Jee was charged with using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a 27-year-old man by groping the victim’s body and kissing him at the same apartment between 11pm and 1am in July 2017.

Magistrate M. Kalaiarasi set Jan 18, next year for the charges to be interpreted to Jee by an international sign language interpreter.

She also granted him bail of RM5,000 in two sureties for each of the charges.

It was reported that six police reports had been lodged against the South Korean pastor for allegedly molesting five hearing and speech-impaired men in Penang and Selangor, several years ago.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed said five investigation papers were opened in Penang and another in Selangor over the acts allegedly committed by the suspect between 2011 and 2016.

It is understood that the accused will face four more charges.

On Nov 24, it was reported that Penang police detained a Korean pastor to assist investigations into several molest cases here, involving disabled boys.

The pastor was arrested at a church here following several police reports lodged by the victims, including two in the Seberang Prai Utara district. Nst

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