Muay thai instructor gets jail, caning for sexual assault

A former muay thai instructor was sentenced yesterday to seven years and four months' jail, and four strokes of the cane for sexually penetrating a woman whom he was massaging.

Tan Wai Luen, 31, was found guilty by the court on Jan 22 on one count of sexual assault.

He is one of the co-founders of Encore Muay Thai gym, but no longer works there.

The victim cannot be named due to a gag order protecting her identity.

She earlier testified that she had attended a free trial class at the gym on Oct 1, 2016, after seeing an advertisement on Facebook. Tan was the instructor of the class, which included three other women whom she did not know.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy told the court that the victim was left alone with Tan after the class, and he sat her down to discuss packages available at the gym.

Tan offered the victim a free Thai massage, which she accepted. He then directed her to take off most of her clothes, lie down on the gym's massage table and cover herself with a towel.

The court heard that Tan sexually penetrated the victim while massaging her inner thigh area. He stopped after she shouted at him.

He then continued with the massage for about 10 to 15 minutes.

As she was leaving the gym after getting dressed, the victim realised the main door was locked from the inside.

"That was when it dawned upon her that the entire ordeal was premeditated and the accused had deliberately locked the main door," said DPP Kavita.

The next day, the victim related the incident to another co-founder of the gym, who lodged a police report.

District Judge Ong Chin Rhu said yesterday that Tan had abused the victim's trust.

He then sentenced Tan to jail for seven years and four months, and four strokes of the cane.

For his offence of sexual assault by penetration, Tan could have been jailed for up to 20 years, and fined or caned.

Tan is appealing against his conviction and sentence.

Dominic Low

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2020, with the headline 'Muay thai instructor gets jail, caning for sexual assault'. Print Edition | Subscribe