Cleaner who raped factory worker, 62, gets 18 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane

SINGAPORE - A 62-year-old factory operator working on a public holiday in 2017 was raped at knifepoint inside a cubicle of the female toilet at her workplace, the High Court heard on Friday (Nov 16).

Her rapist, 49-year-old cleaner Paramjit Singh Minder Singh, was sentenced to 18 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated rape and two charges of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.

Three other charges, for aggravated molestation, criminal trespass, and possession of an offensive weapon, were taken into consideration.

On the morning of May 10 last year, which was Vesak Day, Paramjit downed five cans of beer before going home to his rented room in Kembangan for a nap.

After the self-confessed alcoholic woke up, he drank another five cans of beer before making his way to the factory in the western part of Singapore where the woman worked.

Paramjit, who was previously deployed to work there as a cleaner, said he wanted to go there to "relax" as he thought no one would be there on a public holiday. His place of work at the time was another industrial building nearby.

At about 6.45pm, he spotted the victim walking along the corridor towards the female toilet and decided to sexually assault her.

He followed her into the toilet and waited for her outside the cubicle she was in. When she walked out, he pointed a foldable knife at her throat and forced her back into the cubicle.

The victim initially refused his demand to take off her clothes, offering to give him money or her gold bracelet instead.

He pointed the knife at her again, pulled her hair and repeatedly hit her head.

Terrified, the woman did as she was told. Paramjit continued to hit her as he forced her to perform oral sex on him. He then raped her.

When footsteps were heard outside the cubicle, he stopped what he was doing and told the victim to get dressed.

After he left, the woman washed her face and hands and rinsed her mouth at the sink before walking back to her office.

A colleague saw her crying and asked her what happened.

The victim told the colleague there was a pervert in the toilet who threatened her with a knife and hit her face. The colleague then told a supervisor, who advised the others not to use the toilet.

After checking on the victim, who was in tears, the supervisor called the police.

Paramjit was arrested on the same night when he returned to the factory. He had returned home after raping the victim but headed back to the factory to sleep as he had to work the next day.

A medical examination on the victim found fresh hymenal tears. A psychiatric report stated that she was worried about the perpetrator seeking revenge and also others at the factory gossiping about her.