8 months' jail for man who abducted woman in 2016

SINGAPORE - In the guise of a helpful bystander, a man approached a drunk woman and carried her into a taxi.

Instead of taking the 23-year-old home, Shamsul Abdullah tried to take her to two different hotels but failed when she shouted out the postal code of her flat.

The cabby drove to her block of flats and Shamsul took her to the void deck and left.

On Wednesday (Dec 18), Shamsul, a Singaporean who is now aged 53, was sentenced to eight months' jail for abducting the woman in 2016.

District Judge Tan Jen Tse found him guilty on Nov 29, after a 10-day trial, of committing the offence outside a Hotel 81 branch in Lavender Street.

The judge, however, acquitted him of two charges of molesting the woman. She cannot be named owing to a gag order by the court to protect her identity.

Judge Tan, in giving his verdict last month, said: "It is indisputable that the victim was in a highly intoxicated state. I do not find her testimony to be unusually convincing.

"She fell in and out of consciousness and her memory of events was substantially impaired... There is no evidence to corroborate the victim's testimony that she was molested."

The prosecution is appealing against the acquittals on both molestation charges.

Shamsul was represented by lawyers Sadhana Rai and Marjorie Kong, who were assigned to the case under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme.

According to court documents, Shamsul abducted the woman outside the hotel at around 1.20am on May 15, 2016, and carried her into a taxi.

Said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana: "He placed a drunk, unconscious victim, who was in no state to fend for herself, into a taxi and sought to bring her to two hotels.

"He attempted twice (but) his plans were thwarted only because of the victim's act of shouting her postal code - thereby alerting the taxi driver and prompting him to ask the accused to confirm the victim's address."

On Wednesday, the DPP urged to court to sentence Shamsul to eight months' jail, saying he had "set out to take full advantage of the vulnerable victim".

Ms Rai, however, pleaded for a shorter sentence, arguing that the harm caused was minimal and the motive for the abduction had not been established.

Shamsul has five other pending charges, including two for drug-related offences. The pre-trial conference for these cases will be held on Jan 9 next year.

Those convicted of abduction can be jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned. Shamsul, however, cannot be caned as he is older than 50.

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