He is accused of committing two obscene acts with a 12-year-old boy, but 66-year-old Tan Koek Seng told police that it was the boy who had initiated them.Then on the first day of his trial on Tuesday (Dec 27), the freelance swimming instructor changed his tune, saying that staff members of the swimming complex — where the incidents allegedly happened — were maligning him out of jealousy.
Tan is accused of committing two sexual offences against his victim, who cannot be named, in the swimming complex’s toilet on Feb 8 last year.
He claims that the whole episode was cooked up by Mr Philip Ee, a lifeguard who had reported him to the police on March 1 that year following a complaint from the boy’s mother.
Tan, who was unrepresented, cross-examined Mr Ee in a district court and was visibly agitated, saying that the witness was spinning tales.
“I believe these are private matters between the victim’s mother and I,” Tan said. “If she does not agree with me, she should call the police herself. Obviously, (the staff members at the swimming complex) are jealous of me... Did I touch the child? Can (Mr Ee) point out (the) cubicle (where) it took place?”
Tan has been a swimming instructor for over four decades and was coaching at a swimming complex in the north-east of Singapore every Sunday at that time.
On the day of the reported incident, he allegedly entered the male toilet after his class ended at 5pm, and committed two sexual offences with the boy inside one of the cubicles.
In his police statement, Tan said that he was showering in the toilet when he noticed a boy fondling himself in the next cubicle. After peeping through a gap between the two cubicles, he realised that he had seen the boy around the swimming complex previously.
As he got dressed, he said that the boy entered his cubicle and suggested that they masturbate each other. He claimed he rejected the idea, and proposed to “play” with the boy instead. After the act, Tan advised the boy not to masturbate, “if not, he’ll die”.
In court on Tuesday, Tan said: “I told him many times not to do it in public as it’s not nice.”
Five witnesses — all police officers except for Mr Ee — took the stand on Tuesday. Mr Ee said that the boy’s mother, who cannot be named as well, wanted him to take action against Tan initially. Instead, he decided to call the police.
Senior Staff Sergeant Lee Boon Hong testified that the police were alerted at around 3.30pm on March 1. When they arrived at the complex, Mr Ee told them that he had received feedback from a parent about a “misbehaving” swimming instructor.
After interviewing Mr Ee and the boy’s mother, Sergeant Alicia Ng approached Tan, who was seated by the baby pool with his colleagues. Tan was “calm and composed”, and denied any wrongdoing. “He said he didn’t do anything and he didn’t know what’s going on,” Sergeant Ng recounted.
The trial continues next year, with the boy and his mother expected to testify.