Repeat offender tried to rape tourist in hotel room

A man reoffended barely five months after serving 14 years in jail when he tried to rape a tourist in her Hilton Singapore hotel room.

After fleeing the Orchard Road hotel, Isa Ahmad followed a second tourist into a lift at the nearby Tang Plaza later the same day and robbed her of her mobile phone.

The 54-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty yesterday to one count each of robbery and attempted aggravated rape.

The court heard that Isa had earlier been convicted of multiple counts of robbery.

He was last sentenced in October 2002 to 14 years of preventive detention (PD) with the maximum 24 strokes of the cane. PD is only for repeat offenders who are above 30 years old. It involves incarceration, lasting up to 20 years.

He was released in 2016 and targeted the women on March 12, 2017.

Isa, who worked as a housekeeper at Orchard Hotel Singapore, found the first victim, a 27-year-old, attractive and followed her into the Hilton. They entered the same lift and, by using her key card, the woman gained access to the 16th storey where her room was located.

Just as she entered her room at around 11.30am, Isa grabbed her from behind and covered her mouth with his towel.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gregory Gan said the woman managed to kick Isa, and, when she was able to speak, told him someone was returning to the room although she was staying there alone.

Alarmed, Isa got out of the room when he heard this and the woman alerted the hotel's security. The police were alerted at 12.50pm.

The woman went to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was found to have injuries that included a bruised right elbow.

Later that day at around 5.30pm, Isa followed a 48-year-old woman into a lift at Tang Plaza before using a second towel to try to restrain her by covering her neck and mouth.

She struggled and he managed to take her mobile phone worth about $700. The woman dashed out when the lift doors opened and called the police soon after.

Officers managed to trace Isa's identity and arrested him outside Orchard Hotel the next day.

Yesterday, District Judge Victor Yeo called for a report on the suitability of a second PD for Isa, who is now in remand and expected to be sentenced on Nov 12.

In a statement, the Hilton said: "The safety, security and well-being of our guests are of paramount importance and we continue to make every effort to ensure all practices and standards are in line with strict safety and security regulations."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'Repeat offender tried to rape tourist in hotel room'. Print Edition | Subscribe