British trio sentenced to jail and caning for sex offences

From far left: Khong Tam Thanh was yesterday sentenced to six years in jail and eight strokes of the cane, Michael Le was given 5-1/2 years in jail and five strokes of the cane, while Vu Thai Son, the only one who had unprotected sex with the woman,
From far left: Khong Tam Thanh was yesterday sentenced to six years in jail and eight strokes of the cane, Michael Le was given 5-1/2 years in jail and five strokes of the cane, while Vu Thai Son, the only one who had unprotected sex with the woman, got the longest sentence of 6-1/2 years in jail, with eight strokes of the cane.ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Three British citizens who went on trial two weeks ago for taking turns to rape a woman at Carlton Hotel were yesterday sentenced to between 5-1/2 and 6-1/2 years in jail, with caning, on less serious sexual offence charges.

Khong Tam Thanh, 22, Vu Thai Son and Micheal Le, both 24, had pleaded guilty a day earlier to aggravated molestation after taking a week to consider the reduced charges.

All three had admitted to outraging the woman's modesty by having sex with her while wrongfully restraining her in the early hours of Sept 10 last year.

Thanh and Son also admitted to a second charge of outrage of modesty by committing another sexual act on the woman, who was then 22 years old.

In passing sentence, Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng drew a distinction between the culpabilities of the three men.

Son, the only one who had unprotected sex with the woman, got the longest sentence of 6-1/2 years in jail, with eight strokes of the cane.

 

The judge said he had exposed the woman to the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Thanh was found more culpable than Le because he left the room door ajar after he had sex with the woman, facilitating further sexual offences. He received six years in jail and eight strokes of the cane.

Le was given 5-1/2 years in jail and five strokes of the cane.

The judge described the conduct of the three men as "reprehensible". She said: "While she was asleep, and quite unable to protect herself, they took advantage of her vulnerable state so as to commit these serious sexual crimes... In doing so, they showed no respect for her dignity and autonomy, and no regard for any harm and hurt they might cause to her."

The judge said, however, that there was a clear mitigating factor in the form of remorse. She noted that they had made representations to the prosecution early on in the trial and then pleaded guilty to the reduced charges.

"Thus, they spared the victim of the agony of testifying at the trial, so as to be subject to the cross-examination by defence counsel," she said.

Thanh was allowed to start his sentence on Aug 22, while Le was allowed to start his on Friday, so that they can spend time with their families, who have flown into Singapore from Britain. Both men are on bail of $50,000 each. Son has been remanded since his arrest.

The trio, who are of Vietnamese descent, were part of a group of friends who flew to Singapore on Sept 9 to throw a stag party and attend a music festival. They had booked three rooms at the hotel.

On the night they arrived, they went clubbing at Zouk, where one of them, Mr Trinh Viet Anh, 24, struck up a conversation with the woman. She suggested going to Mr Anh's hotel room, where they had consensual sex.

While she was asleep, Thanh, Son and Le entered the room, one after another, and had sex with her.

While Le was having sex with her, she woke up and demanded to know who he was, saying that she would never have agreed to have sex with someone as ugly as he was, the court heard.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'British trio sentenced to jail and caning for sex offences'. Print Edition | Subscribe