Five years' jail, cane for robbery and molestation

Technician robbed prostitute after sex; he also slapped and molested her flatmate

A technician who spent the night with a prostitute, then robbed her at knifepoint and molested her flatmate has been jailed for more than five years and sentenced to 16 strokes of the cane.

Cao Lichun, a Chinese national who turns 33 today, took $6,400 in cash, a $2,000 designer watch and a mobile phone from the two women at their rented apartment in Dalvey Road.

A district court heard that Cao went to see the prostitute in the early hours of Dec 1, 2013, after exchanging messages.

Her flatmate was present when he arrived.

Both women - also Chinese nationals - cannot be named to protect their identities.

Cao had sex and paid the prostitute $200, then fell asleep in her bedroom.

At about 8.30am, he woke her and demanded money. She ignored him as she thought he was joking.

Cao then used a piece of wire to throttle her from behind. He also tied her wrists and ankles with cable ties.

He pocketed her $2,000 Titoni watch and mobile phone.

Cao also pointed a knife at her, threatened harm and asked where she kept her bag. She told him it was in the living room and he took $400 in cash from it.

Cao then went to the flatmate's bedroom. When she answered the door, he grabbed her neck and pushed her onto the bed.

He used one hand to cover her mouth and the other to molest her.

He then pulled her into the other bedroom, telling her to be "cooperative" and "honest" if she did not want to be tied up like her friend.

He told both women he wanted to borrow money and threatened to harm them if they did not comply.

When the flatmate did not tell him where she kept her money, Cao dragged her back to her room, threatened to cut her face and slapped her twice.

She then handed him her bag and he took $6,000 from her wallet.

Before leaving the apartment, Cao cut the cable ties off the prostitute's hands and molested her friend again. He then returned $100 to the prostitute and $1,000 to her flatmate.

The next day, both women lodged police reports. Both were treated in hospital - the prostitute for ligature marks on her wrists and ankles, and her friend for bruises on her face.

Although Cao admitted to the robbery and molestation in his police statements, he claimed in court that he did not understand their contents, as the statements were not explained to him "line by line".

During the 13-day trial, he claimed he was in a relationship with the prostitute in 2013 and that they had met four times.

He also told the court that he tied the prostitute's wrists and ankles with her consent, but removed the cable ties after they had sex.

Cao claimed their relationship ended the day of the robbery and assault.

On Dec 11, 2013, when Cao's employer drove him to the police, Cao left his pouch behind. The employer found the stolen watch and mobile phone inside, and handed them over to the police.

Police later found a cable tie, a blade and a knife in Cao's locker at Rotary Switchgear & Testing in Kian Teck Avenue.

Cao was jailed for a total of five years and two months on Wednesday. He could have been jailed for up to 10 years for each count of robbery and outrage of modesty.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2016, with the headline 'Five years' jail, cane for robbery and molestation'. Print Edition | Subscribe