A TAXI driver who molested a string of women passengers - one of them while she was throwing up - was yesterday jailed for nine months.
Ang Wei Leong, a 37-year-old married father of one, pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting or using criminal force with the intent to outrage the modesty of another person.
Charges involving three other women, along with one charge of theft, were taken into consideration.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Jeremy Pereira said Ang and his wife are currently unemployed, and they have to look after their Primary 6 son, and elderly parents who have diabetes and high blood pressure.
But District Judge Michelle Yap said the nine-month sentence was needed to maintain confidence in Singapore's public transport.
At about 5.30am on June 9 last year, one of the women, 42, boarded Ang's taxi in the Orchard Road area and told him to drive to her home in Yishun Street 22.
Ang told her he had two bottles of beer in the boot and asked if she wanted to find a place to drink with him.
But that did not stop him.
He drove to the Yishun Dam along Yishun Avenue 1 and went to the boot to get the beer.
Fearing for her safety, the victim got off the taxi and sat on a kerb.
Ang sat next to her. He hugged her and tried to kiss her face but she pushed him away.
They returned to the taxi after Ang finished the beer and he drove her home. On the way home, the woman messaged her friend for help.
The other case happened the year before on Oct 31. About 4.40am, the victim and her friend took his taxi at Clarke Quay.
Ang sent the friend home first.
The victim, 31, was sleeping in the back seat when he stopped the taxi. He turned around in the driver's seat and used his hand to rub her left breast.
The woman woke up and said she felt like throwing up, having had some drinks earlier.
Ang went to the back of the taxi and passed her a plastic bag.
While she was throwing up, he squeezed her breasts a few times. He stopped only when she opened the door and threw up.
He then drove her home.
For the offence of using criminal force with intent to outrage the modesty of someone, he could have been jailed up to two years, caned and fined.
- The Straits Times
An engineer who preyed on 31 victims, in what was described as Singapore's worst case of sex offences against young boys, has been sentenced to 30 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane.
Yap Weng Wah, 31, had sexually groomed the boys, who were aged between 11 and 15, after meeting them online. In all but one case, he either sodomised or had oral sex with them at his rental flat, in hotel rooms and toilets at shopping centres and swimming pools.
When his Yishun home was raided after his arrest in September 2012, police found more than 2,000 videos on his laptop of him having sex with others, including young boys. The videos had been meticulously catalogued with the boys' names, ages and year he met them.
The prosecution had sought a minimum 30-year jail term, and 24 strokes of the cane.
The Malaysian quality assurance engineer moved here to work in 2009. He befriended the boys on Facebook using different identities, but usually as an 18-year-old polytechnic student. Some of the boys accepted his friend request after seeing that they shared mutual friends.
He gained their trust by portraying himself as an older brother or mentor, sometimes over several weeks or months.
Between November 2009 and June 2012, he cajoled 30 of the boys into consenting to having anal or oral sex with him. The other victim, 12, was persuaded to send Yap a video of himself performing a lewd act.
Yap recorded most of the sex acts with the 30 boys on his mobile phone. When they protested, he assured them he would delete the footage. However, he stored the videos on his laptop, and would masturbate to them.
He has been diagnosed by the Institute of Mental Health with hebephilia - a sexual preference for early adolescent children generally aged 11 to 14.
- The Straits Times
Diagnosed voyeurs caught filming unsuspecting victims will face an uphill task in convincing the courts to impose lighter sentences solely on account of their mental disorder, following a High Court ruling yesterday.
In a 62-page written judgment, Justice Chan Seng Onn accepted the medical evidence submitted by the prosecution that voyeurism - unlike impulse control disorders such as kleptomania - does not cause someone to lose his self-control.
The finding came in the case of a former civil servant who took upskirt videos and secretly filmed his girlfriend's family members in the shower.
The 31-year-old was given 30 months' probation in 2013 by a district judge, who placed considerable weight on the fact that he was diagnosed with voyeurism and concluded that deterrence should not take precedence over rehabilitation.
But yesterday, Justice Chan set aside the "manifestly inadequate" probation sentence and instead imposed a jail term of 16 weeks, following an appeal by the prosecution. Prosecutors had argued that a deterrent jail term for such offences was warranted to send a stern message to potential offenders, in an era where miniature and hidden digital video recording devices are increasingly available.
A person with voyeurism derives sexual arousal from observing an unsuspecting person who is naked, undressing or engaged in sexual acts.
During the appeal, medical experts on both sides weighed in on the issue of whether a person diagnosed with voyeurism is able to control his actions.
In his judgment, Justice Chan noted that the diagnosis of a mental disorder in most cases is a mitigating factor that the courts may take into account during sentencing. However, he said he would give "little or no mitigating value" to a mental disorder in which the person is able to control his actions and if it is shown that punishment will effectively deter him from committing the same acts again.
Justice Chan accepted the testimony of the prosecution expert, Dr Stephen Phang, that voyeurism is merely a descriptive label for a perverse form of behaviour which intrudes into the sanctity and privacy of others.
Dr Phang said a person with voyeurism, which is not a mental illness, remains in full control of his actions even if he shows symptoms of impulsivity.
Justice Chan said he was satisfied that the accused in the current case had full control over his actions in the light of his "high degree of planning and premeditation". He said the district judge was wrong in giving significant weight to the fact that the man was voyeuristic such that principles of deterrence were overridden.
Justice Chan said deterrence was relevant in sentencing. Given that camera phones are ubiquitous and recording devices come in all shapes and sizes and are getting cheaper, "the perverse now find it easier to prey on unsuspecting women almost everywhere", he said.
Rehabilitation is also relevant but it did not automatically mandate a lighter sentence, he said.
He noted the man had gone to great lengths to commit the offences, sticking mini-cameras to his shoe and planting a camera - in the guise of a lighter - in the bathroom of his girlfriend's home.
- The Straits Times
A 24-year-old man who carried out a string of frenzied acts on his ex-girlfriend, including rape, was on Monday sentenced to seven years' jail and six strokes of the cane.
Kenneth Aw first strangled her, tried to stuff her into a suitcase, poisoned her with air freshener liquid, raped her, then slashed her with a knife.
His victim is a 24-year-old Malaysian woman, who is married with a child. Aw was jailed seven years and ordered to be caned six strokes on Monday after he pleaded guilty to rape and causing hurt by means of poison.
He met the victim in October 2012, while she was working as a sales assistant at a shopping centre in Johor Baru, Malaysia.
They started seeing each other, even though she was married with one child.
Between November 2012 and June 2013, she moved to Singapore to stay with Aw.
They broke up in June 2013 and she moved back to Johor Baru, but he threatened to look for her and her family there.
To prevent that, she met him and went to his Jurong West flat, where she stayed three days.
On June 24, 2013, she told him she wanted to go home, and tried to leave.
Enraged, Aw pressed a pillow to her face to suffocate her, then strangled her with the intention of "wanting the victim to feel the 'pain' that he had been feeling" since they broke up. She became unconscious, and he tried to revive her, but she did not respond.
Thinking he had killed her, Aw called two friends and asked them to help him dispose of her "body".
He brought two suitcases into the bedroom and tried to stuff the victim inside them, but failed.
He then decided to die with her. He poured air freshener liquid into her mouth, causing her to vomit.
While changing her clothes, he became aroused, put on a condom and raped her.
Still determined to end both their lives after that, he cut her wrist and stomach.
Laying down beside her, he cut his wrists, drank air freshener liquid, and took pills for fever.
But after some time, the victim regained consciousness and wanted to leave. Aw agreed.
She went back to Johor Baru and a day later, she returned to Singapore to make a police report.
- The Straits Times
TWO men invited their former secondary schoolmate to a re-union at a flat. But when she passed out drunk after a series of drinking games, the duo put her through a sexual ordeal.
One sexually assaulted and molested the victim, now 29, and another took photos of her in various states of undress and compromising positions. This was in 2009. The men, both 29, were sentenced to jail yesterday.
The man who sexually assaulted her was given seven years in jail and nine strokes of the cane. He is appealing against the sentence. He works as an artiste.
The other man, a technical specialist, who took the photos received 19 months' jail. He is considering an appeal.
None of the trio can be named to protect the victim's identity.
The men were convicted last November after 49 days of trial.
Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Raja Mohan had called for heavier sentences, saying the men violated the victim when she was unconscious to "satiate their carnal pleasures". She had trusted them because they were friends, he said.
The victim had believed that other school friends would be at the Bukit Panjang flat but arrived to find only the duo, whom she had known for nine years.
After some catching up, she played drinking games with them and eventually passed out. During the stupor that followed, she remembered "giggling voices and camera flashes" and pain in her private parts, which was backed up by a medical examination. She later made a police report.
APP Raja Mohan said the duo had denied the charges despite "overwhelming evidence" and "remained unrepentant to the very end". One had even tried to bribe others to persuade the victim to drop the matter, he said.
District Judge Marvin Bay agreed that the men had violated the sanctity of the friendship.
He said both men were employed and successful in their fields, which may be a reason they chose to contest the charges. "If anything, (they are) all too conscious of what they will lose if they (are) jailed."
- The Straits Times
A man who pressed and rubbed his groin area against a woman's shoulder on a bus was jailed for six months on Wednesday.
Ch'ng Cheng Ho, 45, pleaded guilty last month to using criminal force on a 29-year-old woman on board SBS Transit service 77 on June 2, 2012.
The court heard that the victim and her husband had boarded the SBS bus in Orchard Road at about 9.45pm that day. The bus, heading towards Bukit Batok Central, was crowded but the victim managed to find a seat.
Ch'ng boarded the same bus in Orchard Boulevard.
He stood at the front aisle of the bus and admired the female passengers. He then moved towards the back of the bus and stood beside the victim and started to press and rub his groin area against her left shoulder. He did it for about five minutes, thinking that the victim did not realise what he was doing.
The victim tried to move away but Ch'ng kept moving closer.
Her husband detained him and called the police.
Ch'ng has a previous conviction in 2006.
Lawyer R. Dilip Kumar said in mitigation that his client, a former primary school teacher, was suffering from depression and struggling with frotteurism - a term for intentional rubbing up against or touching of another, usually unsuspecting, person for sexual arousal.
Ch'ng, who gives private tuition to support himself, admitted himself to the Institute of Mental Health and is going for regular treatment, said counsel. He said Ch'ng was extremely remorseful for the offence.
He could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or received any combined punishment.
- The New Paper
An 18 year-old youth was sentenced to reformative training on Friday for extorting from a man he befriended on a mobile phone application.
The court heard that the teen, Naveenthiran Thevathas, befriended Kanthimathi Ramachandran Sreedhar, a 30 year-old man from India in June last year through the mobile phone application Grindr.
Naveenthiran agreed to meet Kanthimathi at the latter's home, a rented bedroom in Woodlands, to engage in sexual activities.
But before their meeting, Naveenthiran joined two of his friends, Kishor Ramesh, 22, and Vinod Velasamy, 20, at a coffee shop. There, Naveenthiran hatched a plan to extort money from Kanthimathi.
He would proceed to have sex with Kanthimathi and take a video while doing so. He would then send a text message to his two friends who would then show up at the flat, claiming to be Naveenthiran's elder brothers. They would tell Kanthimathi that their supposed brother was underaged and would report the matter to the police unless Kanthimathi paid them some money.
Both of Naveenthiran's friends agreed to the plan.
The duo later demanded $10,000 from Kanthimathi.
Kanthimathi, who said he did not have the amount with him, surrendered two foreign bank debit cards, a black Lenovo tablet and cash amounting to $150 and 6,000 Indian Rupees.
Naveenthiran's urine sample, taken after he was arrested two days after the extortion, also tested positive for methamphetamine, commonly known as 'Ice'.
Kishor was sentenced to 2 years' jail and three strokes of the cane for his offences, while Vinod is waiting to be sentenced, pending a report on his suitability for probation and reformative training.
A stint at the Reformative Training Centre lasts between 18 and 30 months.
- The Straits Times
Twenty-four suspects, believed to be part of an online prostitution syndicate, have been arrested for their suspected involvement in online vice.
The syndicate had advertised sexual services online, preliminary investigations show. Six men and 18 women, aged between 19 and 64, were arrested during island-wide investigations on Tuesday conducted by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The suspects were operating from Geylang, Hougang, Bishan and Jurong West. A number of computers, mobile phones and about $270,000 in cash were seized.
Four suspects - a 21-year-old woman and three men aged between 27 and 51 - will be charged on Thursday and if found guilty face a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Investigations against the remaining suspects are ongoing.
Superintendent Lawrence Eng, head of specialised crimes branch of the CID, said: "Online vice operators who assume that they can hide through the anonymity offered by the Internet to commit criminal offences should think twice."
"We will find them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."
- The Straits Times
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