He ruled over a small but notorious gang in Choa Chu Kang. But the 25-year-old former gang leader may have to spend 28 years behind bars and be caned 24 times for committing underage rape and other offences.
Koh Rong Guang was given the punishments after he was convicted of three counts of raping a 13-year-old girl between December 2013 and 24 January 2014 – twice at a staircase in a KTV outlet and once at a staircase of Block 672A Choa Chu Kang Crescent.
Koh’s lawyer, Irving Choh, said that his client plans to appeal against his conviction and sentence and applied for a stay of execution of Koh’s sentence. Koh is currently out on a bail of $100,000.
In sentencing Koh, Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim said that the stiff sentence was warranted to reflect the culpability of Koh.
“The offences were planned. There are clear aggravating factors and no mitigating circumstances,” the judge said of the case.
Following a trial, Koh was found guilty on 19 March of 11 offences, including charges of criminal intimidation after he threatened witnesses of the rape not to reveal the incident, and causing hurt to a gang member.
He was also convicted on one count of sexual assault by penetration by making the girl perform oral sex on him, one count of committing an indecent act by making the girl pose in a compromising position with a gang member, and one count of circulating a nude photo of the girl to others through WhatsApp. Seven other charges were taken into consideration for the sentencing.
He was acquitted of one count of statutory rape against the same girl as the judge found that the girl’s version of facts was not corroborated.
Koh, who was 21 years old when he committed the offences, was then a gang leader overseeing seven boys aged between 15 and 17.
The victim, now 18, first met Koh at Choa Chu Kang’s Lot 1 Shopping Mall after they were introduced to each other by a gang member. Then in secondary one, the victim, who can’t be named due to a court gag order, was staying with her parents and younger brother. But she often spent time with her friends in the mall to avoid her father who had physically abused her on several occasions, including chasing her with a knife and chopping off her hair.
During the trial, the girl testified that she feared Koh, whom she said was a “well-known” gang leader with a violent streak.
On one occasion, the girl recalled she was smoking at Lot 1 when two gang members approached her. The members brought her to the staircase of the Kbox KTV outlet, which was located on the fifth storey of a building beside Lot 1.
The girl found herself alone with Koh, who intimidated her by using a spanner to hit the wall close to her face. Koh then forced the girl to perform oral sex on him before raping her. After the act, he forced the girl to strip before taking a photograph of her naked.
On another occasion, a primary school mate of the victim asked her to meet via a phone message. When the girl showed up, she found Koh and three others present. Koh separated her from the group and took her to a floor of another HDB block in Choa Chu Kang where he raped her.
One of the gang members later testified that Koh had discussed his plan of luring the girl out with his members. Koh asked three other gang members present if they wanted to “join in the act” but they refused.
In a later incident, one of the gang members spoke up for the girl after she confided in him about the sexual assaults. However, Koh simply replied that the girl was no more than a “play toy” and warned the member not to interfere.
When the member and the girl met Koh at a staircase at a HDB block, Koh began punching and kicking the teenage boy. He also pulled the girl’s hair and used a brick to threaten the two. Koh then raped the girl before forcing the girl and the member to pose in a compromising position. Koh warned that he would post the photo online if the two were to “create trouble with him again”.
The girl later found from a friend that a photo collage of her nude photos was going viral online, causing her to have a breakdown. She later made a police report.
The prosecution, which sought at least 28 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane for Koh, said Koh subjected the girl to persistent sexual abuse over a period.
Said Deputy Public Prosecutor David Khoo, “He treated (the girl) with utter disregard, as nothing more than a “f*** buddy” – someone to have sex with and ‘throw’ once he was done using her.”
“He placed (the girl) under palpable fear, caused her severe emotional distress, humiliated her and performed the sexual acts on her without her consent. These heinous offences were carefully planned and executed against a vulnerable 13-year-old child,” he said, adding that Koh was on a 24-month probation for a rioting offence when he committed the sexual offences.
Choh argued that his client should be sentenced to 20 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, adding that the circumstances of the rape offence made it fall in the first band of the sentencing framework for rape as the only aggravating factor was the girl’s age.