Man who molested woman on her feet claimed to be from ‘Barefoot Walking Society’

Close up of female feet with red nail polish on a blue couch
A woman's feet. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A man told a woman whom he knew from Tinder that he was from a charity called the “Barefoot Walking Society”.

While on a date at MacRitchie Reservoir, Tan Boon Hwee molested the woman’s feet for more than five minutes.

On Wednesday (6 April), the 32-Singaporean man was jailed for two weeks and five days after he was convicted of two counts of molest involving his Tinder date and another female victim. Both women cannot be named under a court gag order. One charge of Tan sending threatening messages to the first woman was taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Tan was also previously convicted of two molest charges in 2019, with three other similar charges taken into consideration for his sentencing. He was sentenced to a total fine of $8,000 then.

The court heard that Tan, who is unemployed, met the first victim, then 28, after they chatted on the Tinder app. The woman agreed to a date with him.

On 16 July 2017, after lunch at the Botanic Gardens, Tan brought the woman to MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore. Sometime in the late afternoon, while Tan and the woman were seated at a bench near the reservoir, he lied to her that he was part of a charity known as the “Barefoot Walking Society”.

Tan then asked if he could take photos of the soles of the woman’s feet. He was sexually aroused by feet and wanted to touch and photograph her feet.

When the woman asked Tan for details of this charity, he claimed that it was a “low key” organisation. He insisted that it existed and showed her photos of other women and their feet he had taken.

The woman believed Tan was taking photos and touching her feet for a non-sexual purpose. Tan pretended to adjust her feet for the purposes of taking a photograph, and slowly touched and caressed the soles of her feet. He also rubbed her toes, particularly over the tips of her toes. He commented how “cute” her toes were and asked if she worked out.

The whole incident of Tan touching, caressing and rubbing the woman’s soles and toes lasted for over five minutes.

The woman felt uncomfortable and disgusted, and asked Tan to stop. He did so and began to question her about her favourite male body parts, and when and how she would get intimate with men. He also jabbed her on her waist several times, asking her if she was afraid of being tickled. The woman told him to stop as she was feeling very uncomfortable. She told him that she saw him as a friend and went home.

When the woman reached home, Tan began to message her repeatedly. At his insistence, she agreed to meet with Tan again. Tan demanded to know “how many guys have you said the same thing to” and when she told him that he was her first Tinder date, he turned aggressive. She asked if she could have the photos he took of her, but he threatened her.

Even though the woman did nothing wrong, she tried to apologise to him. She asked to end her conversations with him, but he started to scold and threaten her on WhatsApp and via SMS.

The woman felt traumatised by the encounter as this was her first Tinder date. She initially called the police but did not provide sufficient details. After Tan’s conviction in 2019 was reported in the newspapers, she lodged a police report.

The second victim was a store assistant who was 18 at the time of the other incident.

On 27 March 2019, Tan walked into the store and lied to the woman that he was from the People’s Association. He claimed that he was working on writing quotes on the soles of feet and taking photos of them to form a collage.

Tan lied to the woman that these quotes and photos were meant to be inspirational, and asked her if she would be willing to participate in the “movement”. The woman believed this to be a positive movement, and wanted to contribute to it, not knowing that Tan had the sexual intent to photograph and touch her feet.

After placing the woman’s feet on the edge of some steps, Tan told her he wanted to take before and after photos. He placed a toe ring on her toe, and made her cross her feet. He then wrote “may your feet take you where you heart wants to go” and drew smiley faces on each of her toes. He did so to have the opportunity to further touch her feet.

While Tan was photographing her feet, he would constantly touch the woman’s soles and toes for over 10 minutes.

Tan could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or caned, or faced a combination of any of the punishments.

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