SINGAPORE - A 49-year-old cleaner originally sentenced to 12 years' jail and 18 strokes of the cane for raping and robbing a woman on the staircase of a Housing Board multi-storey carpark, was on Monday (June 27) given an additional year of jail in lieu of caning.
Prison doctors who examined Riduan Rantau in March had certified him to be medically unfit to undergo caning because he had a heart condition known as mitral valve prolapse.
Under the law, when an offender is found unfit for caning, the court can either remit the sentence of caning or impose an additional jail term of up to 12 months.
Riduan had been sentenced in August 2015 for a brazen rape and robbery, during which he continued his sexual attack even when two residents passed him as they were walking down the stairs after parking their cars.
At around 8pm on Oct 13, 2014, Riduan was sniffing glue when he saw the woman, also a cleaner, drinking by herself at the void deck of a block of flats in the Queenstown area.
He ambushed her as she was throwing away her empty beer cans, and dragged her to the staircase of the carpark. As they struggled on the steps, he rifled through her pockets, and took $8.80 and various cards. Riduan then forced himself on the woman.
During the struggle, a 27-year-old resident who had parked his car on the second level heard shouts for help. As he walked down the stairs, he saw Riduan trying to kiss the woman, who was resisting. He called the police immediately after coming out of the carpark and also took a photo of the rapist and his victim, which he later showed to the police.
After the rape, Riduan spent the woman's money on beer. She went after him and asked him to return her things. He gave her back her identity card, ATM card and ez-link card, and commented how "good" he was for returning them.
Based on the photo provided by the passer-by, police officers spotted Riduan in the vicinity and questioned him but he denied he was at the carpark. The officers let him go after recording his particulars as there was insufficient grounds to arrest him.
Riduan was arrested the next morning, after the police had viewed footage from surveillance cameras in the carpark, and interviewed the victim at her home.
Of the 18 strokes of cane handed down by the High Court last year, six were for rape while 12 were for robbery.
On Monday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Christine Liu sought the maximum 12 months' jail in lieu of caning, pointing to the brazen way Riduan had raped and robbed the woman in a public place.
Riduan's lawyer, Mr Tang Jin Sheng, who is acting for him under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, asked for three months' jail in lieu of the six strokes for rape and for the 12 strokes to be remitted, considering the low level of violence and the amount of money he took.