British trio's trial for rape of Malaysian woman begins

Tam Thanh Khong (above), Michael Le (below) and Vu Thai Son were seen on CCTV footage entering and leaving the room where the rapes allegedly occurred.
Tam Thanh Khong (above), Michael Le and Vu Thai Son were seen on CCTV footage entering and leaving the room where the rapes allegedly occurred.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Tam Thanh Khong (above), Michael Le (below) and Vu Thai Son were seen on CCTV footage entering and leaving the room where the rapes allegedly occurred.
Tam Thanh Khong, Michael Le (above) and Vu Thai Son were seen on CCTV footage entering and leaving the room where the rapes allegedly occurred.PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO

They allegedly took turns to rape 23-year-old while she was drunk and asleep in hotel room

They had flown here from Britain to attend a dance music festival and throw a stag party.

But three Britons of Vietnamese descent are now on trial for the alleged rape of a 23-year-old woman at Carlton Hotel in Bras Basah Road on Sept 10 last year.

Tam Thanh Khong, 22, together with Michael Le and Vu Thai Son, both 24, are accused of taking turns to rape the Malaysian woman while she was drunk and asleep. Khong and Vu are also accused of sexually violating her.

Yesterday, the court heard that a friend of the accused, Mr Ahn Viet Trinh, 24, had met the woman at Zouk nightclub on Sept 9. Mr Ahn, also a British citizen of Vietnamese descent, was with the trio and a few others.

The woman, who cannot be named due to a gag order, was a marketing and corporate communications officer in Malaysia and was visiting Singapore.

That night, she and Mr Ahn struck up a conversation and, at her suggestion, returned to his hotel room. Mr Ahn, the trio, and at least two others were booked into three hotel rooms.

She and Mr Ahn had consensual sex from about 2.30am, after which the woman, who was drunk, fell asleep.

In his opening statement for the trial, Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan said Mr Ahn let Khong enter the room at about 4am, where he allegedly raped the sleeping victim.

According to closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the hotel corridor, Khong left the room and, "like clockwork", said DPP Kannan, Vu went in at around 4.25am. He is also alleged to have raped her.

Vu then left and CCTV footage showed Le entering "within the minute" at 4.50am. This time, the victim woke up midway and confronted him. After a heated exchange, Le left at around 5.05am.

When Mr Ahn returned to the room about 15 minutes later, the victim confronted him as she suspected his involvement. It was not stated if she knew about the others besides Le at this point. But Mr Ahn claimed to have no knowledge of the occurrence, and she left the hotel.

Mr Ahn, the court was told, was also under investigation with the trio, and his passport was impounded by the police. However, he fled Singapore illegally while investigations were ongoing, and is believed to be in Britain.

Yesterday, the investigation officer, Assistant Superintendent Vimala Raj P, took the stand in the afternoon as the prosecution's first witness. He is one of 24 witnesses who will be called by the prosecution. The victim will be in Singapore to testify in camera.

Hotel CCTV footage of the trio entering and leaving the room where the rapes allegedly occurred was also submitted as evidence.

Messages exchanged between Le and his friends where he purportedly admitted to having sex with the victim will also be presented to the court.

Mr Shashi Nathan is acting for Khong, while Le and Vu are represented by Mr Kalidass Murugaiyan and Mr Ramesh Tiwary respectively.

The trial resumes today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline 'British trio's trial for rape of Malaysian woman begins'. Print Edition | Subscribe