Female SMU intern alleges sexual harassment by foreign investment bank supervisor

The supervisor would tell the intern he was at a hotel near where she stays.

Joshua Lee | Belmont Lay | September 11, 2018, 11:59 AM

It appears the floodgates are slowly opening as more accusations of sexual harassment during internships are coming to light.

SMU student claims harassment

A student from the Singapore Management University (SMU) has come forward with accusations that her internship supervisor sexually harassed her.

The incident was first reported by Shin Min Daily News.

The 25-year-old student has been identified as Lee.

The incident occurred after she successfully got the internship position she applied for in February 2018.

She said she decided to talk about her experience after reading about a previous case, where a National University of Singapore intern accused the director of a local company -- allegedly Apps Authority -- for sexual harassment.

Supervisor told intern to meet him after work

Lee, who is no longer at SMU, had passed an interview with a foreign investment bank in February 2018.

She received a five-month internship contract with the bank's local branch.

And the proposition began almost immediately.

This was what Lee told SMDN:

"On the day I signed my contract, my supervisor said to me that the hotel he usually books while he is in Singapore is near my house. I didn't think much of it then. After that, he sent me a "goodnight" text for no reason at all."

Advances became more blatant

After the initial text, Lee's supervisor's advances intensified.

He would text her, without reason, telling her that he's at a nearby hotel.

He would also ask her to meet him in the evenings around 8pm.

The supervisor apparently did not live in Singapore, but flew in often for meetings and inspections.

Once, he asked to meet her alone for coffee, but told her not to tell her colleagues.

In response, Lee told him that she had to study, and could not meet up.

Rejection made internship tougher

After her rejection, the supervisor's attitude towards the intern allegedly changed completely.

He made things difficult for her at work, refused to allow her to present her internship findings, and did not allow her to ask questions.

Lee said she did not dare report the incident to her professor as she was afraid it would affect her internship.

She also said she could only cry in secret.

Supervisor also harassed Lee's friend

Lee then found that she was not the only one to be harassed by this particular supervisor.

After she confided in her friend, Lee found out that her friend too received unsolicited messages from the same person at the bank, despite not even being an intern there.

The unnamed friend had also gone for an interview, but did not get the internship position.

However, the same supervisor allegedly texted her to help her with a "new topic" to get into a new internship intake.

He also suggested getting a hotel near her place to meet her.

Lee's friend did not reply to his messages after that.

A screen shot of the conversation was shown to SMDN.

A screen shot by the intern's friend allegedly showed the same supervisor asking to meet at a hotel.

Supervisor: Let's meet and work on a new topic. Will work out a topic for u for next intake

SMU student: Okay sure.

When and where will we meet?

Supervisor: I usually fly in to spore around 9pm. Is that too late for u

SMU student: Yep. Or can we just communicate via email?

Supervisor: I am ok anyway

Or I can get a hotel nearer to ur place. Where do u live

Police report made

According to Stomp, SMU has declined to elaborate on the case publicly.

SMU said its policy is "not to issue public comments on the specifics of a particular case as the confidentiality of the relevant parties have to be respected".

Lee told SMDN that she made a police report and notified the bank's human resource department about the incident.

She had also consulted a lawyer.


Women in Singapore open up about harassment:

Top images by Shin Min Daily News and Joshua Lee