Ex-Grab driver accused of attempting to rape drunk woman he picked from bar

·Senior Reporter
·5-min read
Sadness of a woman in the dark
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — After a night of drinking at a bar in Seletar Aerospace Park, an intoxicated and emotional woman took a Grab ride home but was allegedly sexually assaulted by the driver.

Tan Yew Sin had brought the victim, then 19, to her condominium, but the woman failed to tap her access card at the side gate, and squatted down and cried.

Seeing this, Tan, 46, brought the woman back to the car where she continued crying, said the prosecution at the opening of Tan’s trial at the High Court on Tuesday (29 September). He then allegedly sexually assaulted the woman.

Tan is accused of one count each of digital penetration, attempted rape and molest of the victim, in the early hours of 19 May 2018 in the car he drove.

The woman did not consent to the sexual activity and was in no position to do so as she was intoxicated, said the prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutors Chew Xin Ying, Emily Koh and Muhamad Imaduddien.

Tan, a married father of three, is arguing that he had exercised due care and attention, and believed in good faith that the woman consented to the sexual acts in question. However, the prosecution will argue that the woman’s behaviour was erratic and inexplicable, which Tan had noted.

Tan did not deny engaging in the said sexual acts. In statements he gave to the police, Tan detailed the full extent of the acts he had performed on the victim in the backseat of the car. He admitted that he did not ask the victim for consent to the sexual acts, nor had she verbally consented, according to the prosecution.

Sequence of events

According to the prosecution, the woman was drinking at Wildseed Cafe & Bar on the evening of 18 May 2018 with a friend and his then-girlfriend. She drank five glasses of beer throughout the evening and also visited the toilet to relieve herself a few times. During one such visit, her friend helped her book a Grab car.

When the woman boarded the Grab car, driven by Tan, the friend’s then-girlfriend observed that the victim appeared tipsy, was crying, and could not walk straight. In-car camera captured Tan repeatedly asking the victim why she was crying and if she had just broken up. However, the woman did not respond.

After Tan brought her back to the car while at her condominium, he said that she then became agitated and banged her head on the left side window while crying. He went to the rear passenger seat to console her but she became agitated again, banging her head on the window and pounding her chest with her hand.

Tan then searched the woman’s belongings to look for her identification card (NRIC) to find out where she lived as well as her handphone so that he could call someone to come and get her. He found her NRIC and saw her details there.

Instead of helping the woman return home, he replaced the NRIC in her handbag and proceeded to engage in sexual acts with her. He also allegedly tried to rape her but failed.

Tan then drove to a more secluded area as he did not want to be seen by passers-by. After stopping the car, Tan re-entered the back seat and tried to engage in sexual acts with the woman again.

After some time, the woman regained some sense and Tan helped her enter the side gate of the condominium. Tan then left. However, the woman did not go home. Instead, she entered the toilet near the swimming pool and left her belongings there. She then walked out of the condominium again.

CCTV footage showed the woman entering the compound at 4.12am on 19 May 2018 and leaving a minute later.

At about 4.43am, the woman was found lying in the middle of the road some distance from her condominium. Another Grab driver was ending his shift when he saw the woman lying on the road along Jalan Loyang Besar. He returned home to fetch his wife before heading back to the road where he found the woman in the same position with her head moving very slightly. He then called the police and waited until an ambulance arrived.

The woman’s underwear and “safety shorts” were missing and she could not recall who removed them. A paramedic who attended to the woman will testify that she kept crying and struggling while being examined.

A medical report showed that the woman’s blood alcohol content at 3am on 19 May 2018 was in the range of 132.2 to 155.9mg per 100ml of blood. A senior consultant from the Institute of Mental Health will testify that the woman’s inability to remember the events in Tan’s car is indicative of an alcohol blackout or that she was in deep sleep from the consumption. He will testify that the woman was significantly intoxicated and incapable of giving consent to sexual activity then.

Tan’s DNA was also found on the inside of the woman’s left bra cup. Tan’s underwear also tested positive for semen and was found to have the woman’s DNA.

The woman’s friend whom she met at the bar will testify in the afternoon on Tuesday.

In response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, a Grab spokesperson said, “The driver-partner has been banned from our platform. Our users’ safety is important to us and we have zero tolerance for indecent behaviour, harassment or abuse of any kind. Users who have displayed indecent behaviour will be banned from the platform.”

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