S'pore woman allegedly raped in Vietnam guesthouse

A Singaporean woman was allegedly raped while holidaying in Vietnam over the weekend.

The woman, who was identified only by her initials by the local authorities, was said to have been sexually assaulted by the manager of a guesthouse on Monday morning while she was drunk in her room.

Vietnamese news portal Viet Bao Daily News Online reported on Monday that the 30-year-old woman was on holiday there with a female friend.

They had arrived in Phan Thiet, a coastal city in Vietnam's southern province of Binh Thuan, on Sunday afternoon, and stayed together in a double room at a guesthouse.

The city is a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City and is a popular tourist spot known for its harbour, outdoor markets and seafood restaurants.

The two women had reportedly checked in and asked the 26-year-old Vietnamese manager for recommendations on places to get fresh seafood for dinner. The trio left the guesthouse together that evening and went for dinner and drinks. It is unclear what time they returned to the guesthouse.

But it was reported that at about 1am local time (2am Singapore time), the manager entered the room and allegedly raped the woman. It was not revealed where her friend was at the time.

A spokesman for the guesthouse told Vietnamese media the women had initially made a booking for two nights, but left early on Monday morning in a taxi headed for the police station.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nguyen Duc Dung, deputy head of the Public Security Department of Binh Thuan, told Viet Bao that the woman had lodged a police report.

He said the manager, who is the son of the guesthouse's owner, is in police custody and has denied the rape allegation.

The suspect admitted to having sex with the woman but claimed it was consensual and that she initially made advances towards him.

But the woman reportedly told police she was drunk at the time and was unable to give consent.

Investigating officers also found that her body bore signs of sexual assault and evidence of a struggle.

Lt-Col Dung said the authorities are awaiting the results of tests on forensic evidence taken from the scene.

It is understood that the woman is in contact with the Singapore authorities and has requested privacy.

The punishment for rape in Vietnam is a minimum of two years' jail. Depending on the severity of the assault, those convicted can also face the death penalty.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore woman allegedly raped in Vietnam guesthouse'. Print Edition | Subscribe