SINGAPORE — An unemployed man who refused to work and forced his wife who had just given birth to their second child to prostitute herself and to film herself having sex with customers on Thursday (16 July) failed in his appeal for a lighter jail term.
The 29-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his victims’ identities, had been sentenced to 25-and-a-half years’ jail along with 24 strokes of the cane at the High Court last year. He was also fined $12,000 to recover the profits he made from prostituting his wife.
The man had also sexually assaulted the couple’s six-year-old child barely minutes after he had sex with his wife in the presence of the girl. At the time, he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease and showed symptoms of it.
He also made his wife bring her 13-year-old niece to a hotel room on the day of her Primary School Leaving Examination so that he could molest the girl.
“You are a monster,” said Justice Chan Seng Onn in sentencing the man last year.
In dismissing the appeal on Thursday, Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash found that the sentence meted out by the High Court judge was not “manifestly excessive”, and hence not within the intervention threshold of the apex court.
The appellate court, which also comprised Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang and Justice Woo Bih Li, heard the case via teleconference.
The perpetrator had pleaded guilty to four charges – aggravated molestation, sexual assault by penetration of a minor, procuring a woman for the purpose of prostitution and receiving payment in connection with the exploitation of a trafficked victim.
Another four charges – two counts each of molestation and causing hurt – were considered in sentencing.
The diminutive man had been diagnosed with anti-social personality traits and was noted by a psychiatrist to be “somewhat boastful of his sexual exploits”.
The prosecution had earlier called the case “unprecedented” and “by far the most aggravated case of human trafficking in Singapore”.
Taught wife to solicit for customers
The man and his wife began dating in 2008 before marrying four years later. He started physically abusing her in 2009 over trivial matters.
Over time, the frequency and intensity of the violence escalated. From June 2015 onwards, he would assault her at least once a week. The abuse persisted even throughout her two pregnancies.
His wife became so afraid of the man that she did not dare to use her mobile phone to contact her own family members as he had forbade her from doing so. She also did not report his actions to the police as he had threatened to kill her if she did so.
Between 2010 and 2015, the man relied on the wife’s salary as a receptionist and office assistant while he remained unemployed. She would hand over her monthly salary of $1,800 to him and he would give her a stipend to cover her transport fare.
When she stopped working in September 2015, the couple found themselves in such dire financial straits that they even contemplated aborting their second child to ease their financial situation.
In June 2016, three months after the wife had given birth to their second child, the man suggested that she prostitute herself to pay for their infant son’s diapers, milk powder and other household expenses. He rejected her request to apply for a normal job, insisting that prostitution was a quick and lucrative means of earning money.
“However, the accused himself remained unemployed at the time. He rejected the notion that he had to work to earn money for the family, and instead demanded that she support their household as the sole breadwinner by prostituting herself for profit,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lau in the prosecution’s statement of facts when the man pleaded guilty last year.
The woman eventually succumbed to her husband’s pressure, fearing that his physical assaults would intensify if she continued to disobey him. She also needed money to buy milk powder.
Using his familiarity with the online prostitution trade, the man taught his wife to solicit for customers online. He also forced her to meet a daily quota of customers. If the quota was not met, she had to compensate for it the following day by securing more customers.
He also made her secretly record her sexual acts with customers as he had a fetish for seeing his wife having sex with other men. The woman complied with this request out of fear.
“The accused closely monitored her movements throughout the period of prostitution (from June to 19 August 2016) and would scold and assault her if she failed to respond to his calls, secure enough customers or earn enough money,” said DPP Lau.
Once, he kicked her head as he felt she was taking too long to solicit for a customer online, while another time, he rained punches on her.
“There were also instances when the accused punched her on her face because he was jealous due to the sexual positions she adopted when engaging in intercourse with her customers, or when her clients paid her less than the agreed-upon amount,” said DPP Lau.
Asked for threesome, then assaulted wife
On one occasion, the man asked the wife to have sex with her former classmate, who had engaged her services not knowing who she was, the court heard.
He demanded that she either take her classmate’s money and leave, or persuade him to have a threesome with them.
“The accused was dissatisfied when she opted for the former, and punched her repeatedly until she acquiesced to his demand for a threesome,” said DPP Lau.
On the man’s instructions, the wife met her classmate in the hotel room while he hid in the bathroom. While they were engaging in sexual acts, the man emerged from the toilet and watched the duo.
“When the customer left, the accused began punching the wife as he was unhappy that she had failed to persuade her classmate to engage in a threesome. In the course of the altercation, the accused hit his wife a dumbbell and demanded that she solicit for more customers,” said DPP Lau.
Between June and 19 August 2016, the wife serviced approximately 138 customers, serving an average of three to five customers a day. She earned an estimated $10,930, all of which she handed over to the man.
Molested 13-year-old niece
On 31 July 2016, the man hurled vulgarities and punched the wife repeatedly for falling asleep while providing sexual services to customers. He also pulled her hair and hit her head against the wall.
The next morning, he insisted that she bring her 13-year-old niece to him. He had a habit of initiating sexualised conversations with the girl when alone with her, causing the latter to be extremely afraid of him. He had also groped her in the cinema on two separate occasions.
The wife tried to reject the request as she knew the girl had her to take her PSLE that morning. But the man repeatedly threatened to resume hitting her if she did not comply.
Fearful of the threats, the wife waited outside her niece’s school gates at 6.30am. When the niece arrived, her aunt led her away from school, despite the girl’s physical attempts to resist her aunt.
The niece and her aunt went to a hotel room, which she had booked on the man’s instructions. He later called his wife and directed her to instruct the niece to take a shower.
The aunt then left the room and met the man in the lobby to pass him the room key and left.
Inside the room, the man undressed and waited for the girl to finish showering. When she emerged from the toilet, he hugged her from behind and began sexually assaulting her.
She cried and tried to resist him as he removed her clothes and groped her. When she tried to shout for help, he covered her mouth and nose with his hand. He also placed a pillow over her face to muffle her screams.
When the girl stopped struggling as she could not breathe, the man panicked and stopped assaulting her. He then called his wife.
The wife then brought her niece to a polyclinic to get a medical certificate to excuse her absence from school that day.
Despite the ordeal, she made her way back to school as her principal had made special arrangements for her to sit the exam. However, the girl did not explain her earlier absence to any of the school authorities.
Sexually assaulted biological daughter
While staying at a hotel sometime between 20 July and 14 August 2016, the man had sex with his wife while the couple’s six-year-old daughter and four-month-old son lay on a mattress next to the bed.
When the wife left to use the toilet, the man called his daughter over to him and forced her to perform a sex act on him. The girl tried to push the man away but was unsuccessful.
Upon emerging from the toilet, the woman was furious and shouted at her husband. He warned the wife and daughter not to tell anyone about the incident, and threatened to beat them up if they disobeyed him.
At the time, the man already suspected that he had a sexually transmitted disease. The infection was confirmed after his arrest.
On 20 August, the man’s mother called the police to report that her granddaughter had been sexually assaulted by her son. The girl had told the grandmother that the man had done “something bad” to her and, upon further coaxing, spoke up about the sexual assault in the hotel room.
According to a psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health, the man continues to pose a risk to his daughter, despite his claims of being remorseful. There is also a high risk of violence towards his wife, who has taken up a Personal Protection Order against him.
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