'Spiritual master' given 12 years’ jail, caning for drugging and raping woman

'Spiritual master' given 12 years’ jail, caning for drugging and raping woman

The 37-year-old victim was diagnosed with adjustment disorder with depressive mood, and two years later, still experiences symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, the court hears.

SINGAPORE: Preying on the woman’s fear of the supernatural, self-styled "spiritual master” Ow Siew Hoe lured her to his Bukit Batok flat in February 2014, where he gave her “holy water” to drink.

The victim, a 37-year-old sales assistant, became drowsy and giddy and too weak to push Ow away when he undressed her and raped her twice. The water had been spiked with Dormicum, a sleeping pill.

The 49-year-old was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Monday (Jul 4), after he pleaded guilty to one count of rape earlier this year. One count for sexual assault and a second rape charge were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor David Khoo sought a stiff jail term and caning for Ow, who had “exploited and violated” the victim. He “robbed her of her right to say no … (and) left (her) with lasting emotional trauma that till this day she struggles to overcome”, he said.

A psychiatric report detailed “irretrievable physical, emotional and psychological scars” on the victim. The woman became suicidal, had flashbacks of the rape, and became fearful of male strangers. She was also diagnosed with adjustment disorder with depressive mood, and two years later, still experiences symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, the High Court heard Monday.

The victim met Ow in 2014, and, convinced there were ghosts in her flat, sought his help to rid her home of “dirty things”. “The facts of this case are unique, in that they take place against the background of superstition and the supernatural,” DPP Khoo said, adding the 49-year-old had preyed on the victim’s fear to take advantage of her.

He inspected the victim’s home in February 2014 for “supernatural beings”, and asked for the floor plan to analyse the flat’s fengshui. He also asked the victim’s father-in-law and his girlfriend, who had recently moved in, if they had brought “anything” with them.

The next day, Ow confirmed the victim’s suspicion that there were ghosts in the flat, also telling her that her father-in-law and his girlfriend had “cast black magic” on her food. Ow said he had some items that would “protect” the victim against the ghosts, and invited her to collect them from his flat. He also needed to “put something inside her body”, he said, instructing the victim not to tell anyone about this “sensitive matter”.

Prosecutors told the High Court on Monday that Ow had “weaved a web of impending doom” by warning the victim she was in imminent danger. He lured her to his flat, where he drugged and raped her.

After the rape, Ow took “active steps” to avoid detection, DPP Khoo said. He even claimed he had raped the woman “for the sake of the protection of her family”. The prosecutor urged the court to “draw the necessary inferences” and conclude that Ow had spiked the “holy water” he gave the woman to drink with sedatives.

Although there was no conclusive evidence that he had drugged the victim, Dormicum as well as several blister packs of Xanax were found at Ow’s home, showing he had access to sedative medication, the DPP said.

For rape, Ow could have been jailed for up to 20 years and caned.

Source: CNA/kk

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