A Malaysian cleaner working in Singapore has been jailed for seven years for molesting two maids from Myanmar in elevators in separate incidents that occurred in December 2017 and January this year.

The 23-year-old man, who also admitted having molested four other maids, pleaded guilty to seven counts of outraging the modesty of women, Shin Min Daily News reported. He will face 13 strokes of the cane in addition to the jail term.

A Singapore court heard on Friday that the first incident occurred on the morning of December 20, when the man followed a 27-year-old Myanmar maid into an elevator while on his way to work. He had earlier asked her whether she was from the Philippines. 

He put his arms around her, grabbed her breasts to restrain her and attempted to kiss her. The maid kept struggling and managed to escape. She reported the incident to police later that day, accompanied by her employer.

A second Myanmar maid, also aged 27, was on her way home from a market at 7am on January 24 when the man followed her into an elevator and forcibly kissed her. He was arrested two days later.

Evidence was given that the man chose Myanmar maids because he believed they were generally less proficient in English and hence were less likely to lodge a complaint with the police.