11 years' jail, 24 strokes for robbery and sexual assault

Man targeted masseuse who lived alone, robbed her of $400 at knifepoint and sexually abused her for an hour

A facilities maintenance supervisor, needing money after he had been fined for an infringement, decided to get it back by robbing a freelance masseuse of $400 at knifepoint.

But it was a poor decision for Raymond Lee Ling Soon, 39, who also sexually assaulted the 24-year-old Chinese national. He was yesterday sentenced to 11 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to the two offences. Two others were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said Lee had seen the victim's advertisement online and knew that freelance masseuses usually lived alone. As he needed money after being fined for a National Environment Agency offence, he decided to rob her.

He sent a text message to confirm that she was indeed living alone in a rented flat in People's Park Centre.

On Jan 19 this year, he turned up at the flat and pointed a knife at her neck when she showed him to the massage room.

He shouted "robbery'' in Mandarin and told her to strip and lie on the bed. Shocked and fearing he would harm her, she complied.

He rummaged through her belongings and stole $400 from a bedside drawer.

On seeing her naked, he assaulted her while she was too shocked and scared to retaliate or scream.

DPP Uthrapathy said the sexual assaults continued for about an hour during which the victim told him how she was in Singapore to earn money and begged him not to hurt her.

Before he left, he told her to squat by the main door, close her eyes and count to 20. He warned her not to call the police or he would return and hurt her severely. After he fled, she called the police.

Lee deposited the money into his bank account and was arrested the same evening.

DPP Uthrapathy sought a sentence of at least 11 years and 24 strokes, saying the offences were premeditated. She said Lee held a penknife to a vulnerable part of the victim's body - her neck - and subjected her to the gross indignity and humiliation of stripping.

The offences were committed over a prolonged period and the victim suffered unthinkable fear and horror, she added.

The woman is still living in Singapore.

Lee had a similar conviction in 2000 when he was sentenced to seven years and 24 strokes for robbery with hurt and aggravated molestation in a lift. In 2012, he was jailed a total of 26 months for cheating and property offences.

Lee could have been jailed for up to 14 years and caned for robbery; and up to 20 years and caned for sexual penetration to facilitate an offence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline '11 years' jail, 24 strokes for robbery and sexual assault'. Print Edition | Subscribe