SINGAPORE: A 26-year-old man was jailed 14 years and sentenced to 22 strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Jun 13), for raping a Malaysian woman he met on Facebook and forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
Yap Jun Cheng pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated outrage of modesty, one charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration, and one charge of raping the woman, who was 20 years old at the time of the offence in 2013.
Prosecutors said Yap had befriended the victim on Facebook in 2011, and did not meet her in person until two years later, when the woman, who wanted to come to Singapore to look for a job and rental flat, sought his help to show her around. They exchanged phone numbers and arranged to meet.
On the morning of Mar 4, 2013, the victim entered Singapore and met Yap at Paya Lebar MRT station. Yap, who was then serving his National Service with the SCDF, left his shift early by telling his supervisor he needed to visit his grandfather in hospital.
The victim had told Yap that she had an appointment to view a rental flat at 10.30am that same day. Instead, Yap said that he wanted to go home to shower and change out of his sweaty uniform first. The victim agreed to follow him and they went to Yap’s flat in Tampines and she waited for him to shower.
When she heard Yap come out of the toilet, she stood up, thinking they could leave to view the flat. Instead, Yap told her he wanted to show her his bedroom, and pulled the victim into his room and locked the door.
He professed his liking for her, hugged her and told her to leave her current boyfriend, before trying to unbutton her shirt. The victim tried to leave the room but failed, as Yap was repeatedly pulling her back from the door. When she tried to open the door, Yap pulled her so hard that the doorknob broke from the door. In the midst of the struggle, the victim fell and hit her head against a TV cabinet.
In desperation, she called out to Yap’s grandmother, who was in the flat at the time, but the victim received no response. Yap threatened her with a roll of yellow adhesive tape on his table and covered her mouth. He then pulled down the front of her tank top and molested her.
Yap ignored the victim’s pleas to leave the room, and forced her to lie down on the bed, where he forcibly removed her shorts and underwear and tried to rape her repeatedly. All the while, he told the victim that he loved her and would show her how much he loved her.
Yap had never before expressed any sort of romantic liking for the victim, and this frightened her, said the prosecution. The victim had thought Yap was mentally unstable and had mistaken her for someone else, or had somehow believed that she was his girlfriend.
As Yap had threatened to rape and kill her, she decided to do whatever it took to leave the room alive, no matter how degrading or abhorrent. Yap later forced her to perform oral sex on him.
VICTIM WAS NOT ALLOWED TO PUT ON HER SHORTS AND UNDERWEAR
After some time, the victim moved away and reiterated that she needed to go for her housing appointment. Yap then used a hanger to force the door open, at which point his grandmother came to the door. The victim did not dare to call out for help as she was still afraid Yap would harm her.
After the grandmother left, Yap then closed his bedroom door partially and made the victim sit on the bed to chat with him. She tried repeatedly to put her shorts and underwear on, but was stopped by Yap.
After going to the toilet in the flat’s kitchen, she noticed that there was no one else at home. She then began to think of ways to leave the house. When she told him she was hungry and asked him to bring her out of the house, Yap told her to cook instead.
The victim then fried vegetables, crabsticks and rice in the kitchen. She stopped cooking when she felt nauseous due to gastric problems, and Yap agreed to bring her to a food centre in Bedok to eat instead.
‘GRAVE IMPACT’ ON THE VICTIM
Noting that the incident had a “grave impact” on the victim, Deputy Public Prosecutors David Khoo and Yvonne Poon called for Yap to receive a sentence of 16 years’ imprisonment and 22 strokes of the cane. The victim had gone through a prolonged ordeal lasting two to three hours, said prosecutors, and even in a medical report dated 2016 – three years after the incident – the victim was still showing some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prosecutors also noted that the victim was depressed, had suicidal thoughts and was fearful of men in dark blue uniforms after the incident.
In mitigation, Yap’s lawyer Ramesh Tiwary pleaded for leniency, saying that there was very little premeditation on Yap’s part. He was, said the lawyer, “overcome with temptation” after his shower, and regrets his actions on that day.
Mr Tiwary also pointed out that Yap’s decision to plead guilty instead of claiming trial would ensure that the victim would not have to relive the incident in a trial. This was something Judicial Commissioner Pang Khang Chau took into account in the sentencing.
For committing rape, Yap could have been jailed up to 20 years, with a fine and caning. For aggravated outrage of modesty, he could have been jailed up to 10 years with caning, and for aggravated sexual assault with penetration, he could have been jailed up to 20 years, and sentenced to up to 12 strokes of the cane.