TAIPEI - Four Singaporean men have been given suspended jail terms by a Taiwan court for sexually assaulting two women in Taipei last December, Taiwanese media reported on Friday (Oct 6).
The relatively lenient sentence means that the four - undergraduates Lau Wei Seng, Bryan Ong Kun Jun, Tan Juan Yin and Lim Wei Xuan - will not have to serve time behind bars, but live under supervised probation in Taiwan for the next four to five years, the mass-circulation United Daily News and China Times said.
The Shihlin District Court in Taipei was cited as saying in a media release that the four men were remorseful and had reached a settlement with the two women, paying them an unspecified sum of compensation.
The women had forgiven the four men and even also pleaded for leniency for them, the court added.
"If they are sentenced to jail, this will not only hinder their rehabilitation but also add to social costs," the court was quoted as saying, adding that the four had already been "taught a very tough lesson" as they have been unable to return to Singapore or continue their studies.
The Straits Times reported in March that at the time of the incident, Lau was an exchange student in a university in Taipei while the rest were visiting him.
The group met the women at a dance club on Dec 11 last year and contacted them on social messaging app Line to invite them to a hostel for drinks, where they assaulted the pair after they had become drunk.
All four men, luggage in tow, were arrested by police at the Ximen subway station in Taipei's Ximending shopping district on Dec 13 last year while apparently on their way to catch a flight back to Singapore.
According to the court statement, Lau Wei Seng was sentenced to one year and 11 months in jail, with the sentence suspended for five years; Bryan Ong Kun Jun was sentenced to one year and 10 months in jail, with the sentence suspended for five years; Tan Juan Yin was sentenced to one year and nine months, with the sentence suspended for four years; and Lim Wei Xuan was sentenced to one year and eight months in jail, with the sentence suspended for four years.
All four have been released on bail but barred from leaving Taiwan pending any appeal, the media reports said.