SINGAPORE: Three British nationals who went on trial two weeks ago for taking turns to rape a Malaysian woman in Carlton Hotel here were sentenced to between five-and-a-half and six-and-a-half years' jail with caning on Tuesday.
The three men had pleaded guilty a day earlier to aggravated molestation after taking a week to consider the reduced charges.
Khong Tam Thanh, 22, was given six years' jail and eight strokes of the cane.
Vu Thai Son, 24, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years' jail and eight strokes of the cane.
Michael Le, 24, was jailed for five-and-a-half years and given five strokes of the cane.
All three had admitted to outraging the woman's modesty by having sex with her while wrongfully restraining her in the early hours of Sept 10 last year.
Thanh and Son also each admitted to a second charge of outrage of modesty by committing another sexual act on the woman, who was then 22 years old.
On Monday, Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan sought six years' jail for Le and seven years' jail for Thanh and Son.
"They objectified her, they treated her like a thing to be used and abused," he said.
The maximum punishment for aggravated molestation is 10 years in jail.
It was not mentioned in court why the charges were reduced, in what appears to be a plea deal.
The trio, who are of Vietnamese descent, were part of a group of friends who flew to Singapore on Sept 9 to throw a stag party and attend a music festival.
They had booked three rooms at the hotel.
On the night they arrived, they went clubbing at Zouk, where one of them, Trinh Viet Anh, 24, struck up a conversation with the woman.
She suggested going to Anh's hotel room, where they had consensual sex, after which she fell asleep.
At about 4am, Anh let Thanh into the room while he left to join the others in another room. One after another, Thanh, Son and Le had sex with the woman.
While Le was having sex with her, she woke up and demanded to know who he was.
She pushed him away and covered herself with a blanket, allegedly telling him that she would never have agreed to have sex with someone as ugly as he was.
She confronted Anh when he returned, but he claimed to have no knowledge of what had happened.
She then texted a friend, who picked her up and took her to his flat to rest. She decided to lodge a police report the same day.
All three submitted letters apologising to the woman.
In his letter, Thanh offered the woman S$5,000 (RM15,759).
His lawyer, Shashi Nathan, said it was to show his genuine contrition.
Thanh had acted in a moment of folly after Anh suggested that he "try his luck" with the woman, he said.
Thanh, whose family flew to Singapore, has asked for two weeks' deferment to spend time with them.
Kalidass Murugaiyan, representing Son, noted that he had come to Singapore not to commit a crime, but for a social purpose.
Ramesh Tiwary, representing Le, highlighted that he was the first to indicate his desire to plead guilty once the charges were amended by the prosecution, which spared the woman from having to testify. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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