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Man jailed, caned for robbing and raping sex worker who begged for her life

Man jailed, caned for robbing and raping sex worker who begged for her life

The entrance of the Supreme Court in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: A 29-year-old forklift driver was sentenced to 14 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Monday (Apr 22) for raping a performer he met at a KTV club.

Chew Teng Wee had sought the Vietnamese woman, who was also a freelance sex worker, for sex at his home in return for S$200, but said he had no money with him and would pay her later.

When the 28-year-old KTV performer refused, Chew took a knife and placed it against her neck, leaving a cut as the woman was shaking.

Fearing for her life, the woman knelt and begged him over and over not to kill her.

He then robbed her and raped her, filming and taking photos of the woman performing sex acts on him.

Chew pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of aggravated rape and another of robbery by night, with two other charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated rape taken into consideration.

MET VICTIM AT KTV CLUB

The court heard that Chew first met the woman, whose identity is protected by gag order, at a KTV club in May 2017.

He got her number from a performer there and contacted the woman via chat application WeChat.

The woman, however, was not interested in him and deleted his number, ignoring and blocking him on her phone.

A few months later in August 2017, Chew called the woman and told her his name was "Ivan". The woman, who did not recognise Chew's voice, agreed to meet him.

She told him she charged S$200 for a "short time" and they agreed to meet at Chew's home. Once there, Chew locked the main door and brought the woman to his bedroom, while his elderly mother slept in another room.

The woman asked Chew to pay her the S$200 before they had sex, but Chew never intended to pay that sum at all, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Gail Wong and Jane Lim.

He told her he had only S$50 and said he would withdraw the remainder after the deed, offering his handphone as collateral.

However, the woman would not agree to this. She suggested that Chew withdraw the money and buy a condom on the way, as he admitted that he did not have one.

Angered by her refusal, Chew took a knife with a 20cm blade from the top of his cupboard and placed it against the woman's neck.

She shook from fear, suffering a superficial cut on her neck, and knelt down, begging Chew not to kill her.

"The accused saw the terror in her face," said the prosecution.

HE ROBBED HER OF S$200 BEFORE DEMANDING SEX

Chew demanded money from the woman, and she gave him S$200 out of fear for her life.

She then begged him to let her go and spare her life, pleading that she had a young child in Vietnam.

Chew told her that he wanted to have sex with her, and she did not dare to refuse him.

Chew left the knife on the top of his cupboard and directed the woman to perform sex acts on him, while he recorded a video of her despite her asking him to delete it. He then raped her.

The woman tried various ways to appeal to Chew to let her go, telling him that she had a hard life and a young son, and also said she was hungry.

Finally, she asked if she could wash herself. Chew agreed and led her to the toilet, where she washed herself thoroughly as she was afraid she would get pregnant.

Chew returned the woman the S$200 he had stolen from her and asked her not to tell anyone about it nor to report it to the police, or he would post her footage on Facebook.

At about 3am on Aug 30, 2017, about an hour and a half after she arrived at his home, Chew went to a coffee shop with the woman where he bought her food.

The KTV performer tried chatting with him in order to get him to delete the photographs and videos of her in his phone, but realised it was futile.

She boarded a taxi to Orchard Towers to look for her friends. Once she was safe with them, she burst into tears and told them what happened. A passer-by called the police after seeing how distressed she was.

Chew was arrested and his phone seized. The footage of the woman was found in his phone, and investigations revealed that he had deleted them after his manager told him that the police were looking for him.

VICTIM HAS TROUBLE SLEEPING, ANXIOUS AROUND MEN

The woman was sent to the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric assessment, where she told a psychiatrist that she had trouble sleeping after the incident and was anxious in the presence of men.

The prosecution said the victim would be wary and worried that someone would attack her while with male passengers on shared rides.

"She also informed that she once saw a man who looked very much like the accused and almost panicked," said the prosecution.

The prosecution had asked for a sentence of 15 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, pointing out that Chew had placed the victim in fear of death.

There was also premeditation, as Chew reached out to her, being "so persistent to have sex with her he called several contacts checking if they were the victim".

"He knew the victim was a Vietnamese foreigner, who would not be familiar with Singapore," said the prosecution.

The prosecutors added that on top of the fear of being killed, Chew caused the victim psychological distress from the fear of being impregnated.

"The victim expressly refused to have sex with the accused if he did not use a condom. For sex workers, it is especially important to them that condoms must be used because their clients are strangers," said the prosecution.

They added that the victim was so fearful of getting pregnant that she made a desperate attempt to remove his sperm by cleaning herself after being raped.

"Sex workers too have the right to be safe and to change their minds," said the prosecution. "The victim did not consent to unprotected sex without payment."

CHEW A DIVORCEE, WITH FAILED MARRIAGE: DEFENCE

Chew has been in and out of jail since 2013 for a series of offences, mostly theft.

His lawyer, Mr Shaneet Nityanand Rai from Law Society Pro Bono Services, asked for 13 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane. 

He told the court that his client was a divorcee with a young son.

"Chew's difficult childhood and failed marriage had significantly impacted his ability to form and sustain meaningful relationships with the people around him," said the lawyer. 

He added that it was Chew who placed the S$200 he had stolen back into the victim's wallet after she told him she had a five-year-old child.

"Since his remand, Chew had displayed a sense of remorse and a desire for change," said the defence. He said Chew's father and grandmother died while he was in remand, and he now recites Buddhist chants daily in his cell.

For aggravated rape, Chew could have been jailed for up to 20 years and a minimum of 12 strokes of the cane per charge. For robbery by night, he could have been jailed for up to 14 years and given a minimum of 12 strokes of the cane.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)

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