SINGAPORE - A 30-year-old man who in 20 minutes raped a woman at three different locations along a stretch of public road in 2013 was on Tuesday (May 10) sentenced to jail of 16 years, 10 months and two weeks; and 22 strokes of the cane.
In sentencing Lim Choon Beng, Judicial Commissioner Foo Chee Hock said: "The idea that one can walk safely on the public road in Singapore at any time of the day was shattered by the shocking and brazen acts of the accused that morning."
Prosecutors had last week sought at least 17 years' jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane for Lim, calling for a deterrent sentence for his "audacity" in committing the repeated rapes on the woman, a stranger.
Lim initially pleaded not guilty to raping the victim, then a 24-year-old nightclub singer from China, in the wee hours of Feb 9, 2013, the eve of Chinese New Year.
The woman, now 27, returned to Singapore to testify how Lim had attacked her while she was walking home alone and raped her first along Martin Road outside the Watermark condominium, then outside the Robertson 100 condominium, and finally near lamp post number 16 along River Valley Close.
A day after the trial started, Lim changed his mind and pleaded guilty to two charges of rape, one charge of sexual assault and one charge of aggravated outrage of modesty. Four other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that the woman begged Lim to let her go but he paid no heed and threatened to beat her if she resisted. After the third rape, she managed to escape.
In the meantime, police officers arrived at the scene in response to a call from a security guard at the Inspira condominium. Lim was arrested after the woman, on returning to the spot, pointed him out to the officers.
In mitigation, his lawyer said that Lim had claimed trial to seek clarity as he had doubts about the rape; Lim was intoxicated and experienced alcohol amnesia so he had no recollection of the events.
However, after hearing the victim testify, he accepted her account and decided to take responsibility.
But the prosecution argued that Lim's guilty plea was not a factor that warranted a discount in his sentence, as he had put the victim through the trauma of recounting her ordeal despite overwhelming eyewitness and forensic evidence against him.