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11½ Years and 12 Strokes for HDB Lift Attack

3 min read
Reported in the Straits Times, 24 March 2020

On 24 March 2020, a 35-year-old man (“the Accused”) pleaded guilty to 1 charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.

The incident occurred on 20 April 2019. In the early hours of the morning, at around 3:00 am, the Accused was loitering around the void deck of Block 8 North Bridge Road and took a seat on one of the benches. At about 3:20 am, he noticed a young woman who had just stepped out of a taxi. She walked past him in the direction of the lift. The woman (hereafter referred to as “the Victim”) is a 32-year-old Chinese national, who was returning home from meeting some friends at a coffee shop in Jalan Besar.

Overcome with lust, and noticing that she appeared intoxicated, he followed her to the lift landing. When the lift came he entered behind her. She pressed the button for the 10th floor, which was where her unit was, and the Accused pressed the button for the 6th floor. When the door closed, he approached her and touched her. She resisted and he restrained her.

She attempted to escape when the lift doors opened on the 6th floor. However, the Accused hit her and dragged her back into the lift. He exposed himself to her and she continued to resist. He pushed her against the wall and pressed the button for the 14th floor. He clamped his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams and blocked her escape when the doors opened on the 14th floor.

She got on her knees and begged him to release her. It was then that he pushed her head toward his penis and forcibly had her fellate him. This lasted for 5 minutes. He ejaculated, pulled up his pants, and put his finger to his lips to indicate to her to be quiet and not report the matter. He then escaped in the direction of another lift lobby.

She immediately took the lift to the first floor and called her friend. They reported the incident to the police, and the Accused was arrested that same night at 9:30 pm.

The prosecution submitted for at least 12 years’ imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane. In their submissions, they highlighted that the Accused’s “seven minutes of sexual gratification will haunt the victim for an immeasurably long time”.

The Accused was represented by Ms. Chong Xin Yi of Gloria James-Civetta & Co. She argued for a sentence of 9 years’ imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane, in light of his mitigating factors, which included his lack of antecedents, lack of premeditation and genuine remorse for his actions.

The Accused was sentenced to 11½ years in prison, and the statutory 12 strokes of the cane. Under section 376(4)(a)(i), read with section 511, of the Penal Code (Cap 224, Rev Ed 2008), he could have faced an imprisonment term of up to 20 years.


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