SINGAPORE — A forklift driver who robbed and raped a freelance sex worker in his home was on Monday (22 April) sentenced to 14 years’ jail along with 24 strokes of the cane.
Chew Teng Wee, who turned 29 last week, pleaded guilty in the High Court to one charge each of nighttime robbery and aggravated rape.
He also admitted to three other charges – one of rape and two of sexual assault by penetration involving the same 30-year-old victim. These charges were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Victim worked as KTV performer
Chew first met the victim in May 2017, while she was a performing artiste in a KTV nightclub. He later obtained her phone number from one of her colleagues. She was 28 and he was 27 at the time.
The pair communicated for a short period over WeChat but she was not interested in him and later deleted his number.
Three months later, after midnight on 30 August 2017, Chew called the victim as he wanted to have sex with her. He asked her if she would meet him at a hotel.
The victim did not recognise Chew’s voice, but agreed to have paid sex with him as she was also working as a freelance sex worker, the court heard. She quoted $200 and Chew agreed.
He then brought her to his bedroom in his Jurong East flat while his elderly mother was asleep in the next room.
Accused didn’t have enough money
At about 1.35am, the victim asked for payment first before sex. But Chew only had $50 on him and said he would withdraw the remaining $150 after they had sex. He offered her his mobile phone as collateral but the victim rejected the deal.
She also asked if he had a condom and he said no. She then suggested that he withdraw money and buy condoms on the way back.
Angered at her refusal to have sex, Chew took out a knife with a 20cm blade from the top of his cupboard and placed it against the victim’s neck.
Petrified, the victim knelt and begged for him not to kill her. Due to her trembling, she received a small cut on her neck.
Chew then demanded the money from the victim’s handbag and she handed him two $100 notes from her wallet.
Asked for sex at knifepoint
The victim continued to beg for her life, saying she had a young child in Vietnam. Chew then told her that he still wanted to have sex with her.
Fearing for her life, the woman did not dare to refuse Chew’s request. He then placed the knife back on top of the cupboard and asked her to perform oral sex on him while he took photos and a video of her.
The victim later asked Chew to delete the recording, but he refused to do so. When she asked to be let go, he said he would let her go after they had eaten.
Chew then raped the victim, while she was in fear for her life. Afterwards, she pleaded that he let her leave but he prevented her from putting her clothes back on.
She tried to appeal to his sympathy by telling him about her son and that her life was hard, the court heard. Unmoved, Chew went on to sexually assault and rape the victim once more.
Threatened victim not to call police
The victim later asked to leave again, saying she was hungry and wanted to wash up. This time, Chew let her use the toilet.
Before he led her out of his home at about 3am, Chew returned the victim her $200. But he threatened to post online the video and photos that he had recorded if she reported him to the police.
Chew then took a private-hire car with the victim to a coffee shop where he bought for her food. She tried to talk to him into deleting the video and photos again, but he was unmoved.
She later took a taxi to Orchard Towers to find her friends. A passer-by who saw her in distress asked her what happened and called the police. Chew was arrested later that same day.
Past crimes show ‘disrespect for women’
Citing Chew’s antecedents, Deputy Public Prosecutors Gail Wong and Jane Lim urged Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim to sentence him to 15 years’ jail along with 24 strokes of the cane.
In 2013, Chew was jailed for 18 months for filching three mobile phones from female victims. In 2014, he was jailed six months for walking away with a Vietnamese woman’s mobile phone after he asked to borrow it. In 2015, he also grabbed a wallet from a female Myanmar national at a void deck.
“The accused’s past criminality reflects bullying and disrespect for women, especially foreigners, which is also manifested in the present offending,” said the prosecutors.
Meanwhile, lawyer Shaneet Rai, from the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, pleaded for 13 years’ jail with 24 strokes of the cane.
Rai argued that Chew, a divorcee with a 12-year-old son, feared losing touch with his child and elderly mother. His father and maternal grandmother had also died while he was in remand.
The deaths in his family have made Chew more introspective and he sought solace in Buddhist teachings to repent, the lawyer said. Chew had also cooperated with the police and admitted to his crimes, Rai added.
In passing sentence, the judge agreed with the prosecution that there was some degree of premeditation involved and that the offences were not committed on the spur of the moment. Among other things, Chew had never intended to pay the victim, the judge noted.
The penalty for robbery committed between 7pm and 7am is between three and 14 years’ jail, with at least 12 strokes of the cane. The punishment for rape where the perpetrator puts the victim in fear of death is between eight and 20 years’ jail, with at least 12 strokes of the cane.
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