An 18-year-old secondary school dropout who sexually violated four teenage girls was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane yesterday.
Anthony Lim Yao Ming was between 14 and 17 years old when he committed the offences, which included rape.
He pleaded guilty to two charges involving two girls - a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old - whom he had befriended on Facebook. Both victims had below average intelligence.
Eight other charges, for sexual penetration of a minor, were taken into consideration.
Lim's modus operandi involved exploiting the gullibility and loneliness of adolescent girls and convincing them that they shared a genuine romantic relationship with him, only to use them for his own sexual gratification at the very first meeting, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy told the High Court.
In December 2015, Lim, who was then 16, sent a friend request on Facebook to the first victim, whose intelligence was assessed to be in the "very low" range.
On Jan 10, 2016, six days after she accepted his request, Lim, who claimed that he was a polytechnic student, asked her to be his girlfriend and she agreed. Four days later, he took the 13-year-old to his flat and they had consensual sex.
Three days later, Lim told her he wanted to break up with her. But he soon changed his mind and asked her to get back together with him.
On Jan 25 that same year, he asked her to meet him at his flat and again had sex with her. The next day, the girl's mother found bloodstains on her daughter's underwear and the girl admitted that she had had sex with Lim. Her parents took her to make a police report.
Meanwhile, Lim was chatting with the second victim over Facebook. He had asked the 14-year-old to be his girlfriend in mid-2015 and again on May 30, 2016.
On June 22, 2016, posing as his mother, Lim sent the girl a barrage of text messages to get her to meet Lim. Falling for the ruse, the girl felt guilty and agreed to meet Lim .
On June 29, 2016, they met outside her school and got into a taxi. Despite having some reservations, she agreed to follow him to his flat. He subsequently raped her.
After the rape, Lim booked a taxi for her and while in the vehicle she phoned a teacher and tearfully recounted her ordeal. The teacher then called the girl's mother who took her to the police and reported the rape. Tests later showed that girl's IQ to be 70, which is at the borderline level.
Yesterday, Lim pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual penetration of a minor relating to the first victim and a charge of aggravated rape for the other girl.
In sentencing, Justice Kannan Ramesh noted that Lim's offences were "laced with premeditation" and that he had used deception to lure the second girl to his flat.
"It was all about exploitation," said the judge.