SINGAPORE - A Chinese national allegedly raped and sexually assaulted at least five teenage girls aged 14 to 19 years old between last September and June this year - on a nearly monthly basis.
Lin Rongxin, who appeared in court on Monday (August 19) via video link, is facing seven counts of rape and one of sexual assault by penetration.
The 31-year-old is currently in remand for psychiatric assessment.
One of the earliest offences occurred sometime between September and December last year, when Lin allegedly raped an 18-year-old girl in a cubicle of a men's toilet on the seventh storey of Block 1008 Toa Payoh North, an industrial building.
He allegedly returned to the same toilet on two separate occasions later that year, where he raped a 14-year-old in October and in the following month, violated another girl of the same age by performing oral sex on her.
Then, in March and subsequently sometime between May and June the following year, Lin committed rape on two more girls in the same toilet, the court documents state. The girls were 17 and 14 years old respectively.
He is also accused of committing rape on three other occasions, at three locations in central Singapore.
Last December, he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl at a unit at executive condominium Bishan Loft.
Three months later, in February, he allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl at an undisclosed location in Toa Payoh.
Then, in May, he allegedly raped a 19-year-old girl in a room at Balestier Hotel in Balestier Road.
If convicted, Lin could be jailed up to 20 years and liable for a fine or caning if convicted for rape or sexual assault by penetration.
When The Straits Times visited the industrial building at Block 1008 Toa Payoh North on Monday, tenants of more than 10 units across different floors said they did not recognise the accused's name.
An employee who worked at an office on the seventh floor said she saw police leading a male suspect to the men's toilet on the same floor last month, but did not recognise who the man was.
The employee, who declined to be named, said the police told her colleagues and her that they were investigating a case, and the toilet remained locked for "quite a while".
It is not the first time an alleged crime has taken place at the toilet, she noted, as her colleague had stopped a man who had entered the women's toilet on the same floor last year. They believed him to be a Peeping Tom, and called the cops on him, she said.
"The atmosphere is quite scary at night. It is very very quiet," she said.
Other tenants of the building said security is lax in the building. There were no closed circuit TV cameras in sight, and no security guards present when The Straits Times visited the site on Monday evening.
A tenant on the sixth floor, who gave his name as Mr Vejay, said anybody can enter the building which has multiple entrance and exit points with little surveillance.
"When we come here on weekends, it is really a dead (town). There is no security and anybody can enter. Everything you do here is at your own risk," said Mr Vejay, 45, the owner of a sports nutrition company.
Efforts have been made to lock all the toilets, with the building's management issuing keys to tenants and leaving signs on the doors reminding them to keep the toilets locked after use. But tenants said the male toilets are largely left unlocked out of convenience.