A forklift driver who was sentenced to 14 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane last year for robbing and raping a sex worker at knifepoint has been spared caning because of his heart condition.
Yesterday, the High Court imposed an additional nine-month jail term on Chew Teng Wee, 29, in lieu of caning. Justice Audrey Lim said this was warranted in place of the deterrent effect of caning.
She noted that Chew's offences showed some degree of premeditation and that he had put the victim in fear of death by placing a knife against her neck.
The judge said Chew also caused the victim added distress and humiliation by taking photos and a video of her performing a sex act and threatening to circulate them.
Under the law, when a prisoner is found medically unfit to be caned, the court may remit the sentence of caning or impose an additional jail term of up to 12 months.
Chew was found to have heart defects, including a heart valve abnormality, last December.
He was sentenced last April after he pleaded guilty to one charge each of robbery and aggravated rape. Both offences carry mandatory caning.
He committed the offences against a then 28-year-old Vietnamese woman on Aug 30, 2017. She is not named because of a gag order to protect her identity.
Chew first saw the victim in May 2017 when she was working at a KTV club in Jalan Besar and got her number from her co-worker.
Past midnight on Aug 30 that year, Chew phoned her and asked how much she charged for a "short time". She quoted a price of $200.
Instead of giving her his address, Chew asked her to pass her phone to the taxi driver so that he could give directions to the cabby.
After she alighted at a block nearby, Chew led her to his block and then to his eighth-floor unit.
She asked him for payment, but Chew told her he had only $50. She also asked if he had a condom and he said he did not.
The woman refused to have sex with him without protection and full payment. She suggested that he go withdraw the money first and buy a condom on the way.
Chew then grabbed a knife from the top of his cupboard and placed it against her neck. She immediately knelt and begged for her life, suffering a superficial cut to her neck.
He took $200 from her wallet, made her perform a sex act while recording it on his phone, and raped her. He later returned the $200 and warned her not to report the matter. She took a taxi to Orchard Towers to meet her friends, and a passer-by who saw her in distress called the police.