Bangladeshi cleaner jailed for attempting to rape maid in Woodlands carpark

SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi cleaner lured an Indonesian maid to a Woodlands multi-storey carpark and attempted to rape her in broad daylight.

After a violent struggle, during which Mohd Nurul Islam Md Hatem Ali slapped and bit the victim and also violated her with his finger, he ran out of steam and told her to leave.

Nurul Islam, 33, was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison and eight strokes of the cane for the assault.

On the morning of Nov 2, 2013, the victim had gone to a nearby mall to buy breakfast for her employer's family.

While the 32-year-old was queuing at the food court, the accused came up to her and told her there was a Bangladeshi and an Indonesian maid fighting in the mall's carpark.

Thinking that the Indonesian maid involved could be one of her friends, the victim followed Nurul Islam to the fourth floor of the carpark, but found nobody there.

Realising something was amiss, she tried to leave, but Nurul Islam pulled her hair, dragged her to a corner and pushed her against the wall. He then molested her and forcibly stripped her.

The victim tried to push him away, but Nurul Islam bit her lip and slapped her face. He pinned her onto the ground and tried to force himself on her. When he failed, he violated her with his finger instead.

After the victim continued to struggle violently for a few more minutes, the accused decided he was too exhausted to persist. He threw the victim's clothes at her and told her to leave.

The victim fled home, crying. Her employers called the police and she was sent to National University Hospital.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said that the accused had committed his crime "in a brazen manner, in a residential area". He added that Nurul Islam had used violence above what was necessary, as "he was strong enough to overpower her without having to slap or bite her".

In his mitigation, the accused said he was sorry for having committed the mistake and asked for the lightest possible sentence, so that he could return to Bangladesh to look after his parents.

For each charge of attempted rape or sexually penetrating the victim, Nurul Islam could have been jailed for up to 20 years and also liable to a fine or caning.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg