Repeat sexual offender who ambushed women in toilets given preventive detention, caning

Wan Ting Koh
Yahoo file photo. By Dhany Osman.

His modus operandi to fulfill his desire to have sex was to choose a woman he liked then follow her into a toilet to ambush her for the purpose.

Having committed three similar offences previously, he surprised his latest victim in a toilet at her workplace in Our Tampines Hub.

Razali Abdullah, a 32-year-old Singaporean, who was convicted of trespassing and aggravated outrage of modesty, committed the latest offence two months after he was released for his previous conviction.

This time, the stall assistant was given 10 years of preventive detention and three strokes of the cane by District Judge (DJ) Jasvender Kaur, who described Razali as a “significant danger to women” in the State Courts on Friday (15 December).

Preventive detention, which carries a minimum incarceration period of seven years, is usually given to recalcitrant offenders. There is no possibility of remission for good behaviour, unlike a jail term.

Razali pleaded guilty last month to one count of aggravated molest and one count of trespassing into a female toilet. He had been in and out of jail since 2003. His previous conviction was on 8 May 2012 when he was sentenced to five years’ corrective training and four strokes of the cane.

The victim is a 47-year-old woman who worked in Our Tampines Hub.

In July this year, Razali targetted the woman at a secluded toilet near her workplace at Our Tampines Hub as he “felt horny” and wanted to find someone to have sex with “whether or not she consented”, according to court documents.

A day before the incident, Razali took the bus to Our Tampines Hub in the morning to search for girls to have sex with. He sought out a secluded area there and noted that level four was the quietest area. However, he was unsuccessful in seeking the girls he wanted, so he returned home after breakfast.

On 14 July, Razali went to the same level of the building in the morning to try his luck again. He entered the female toilet there to see if there were girls but did not see any. He then took the escalator to level five.

He spotted the victim on his way to level five and followed her to the toilet back on level four. At around 9am, Razali entered the toilet after the woman did, intending to have sex with her as she was the “type of girl that he liked”, according to court documents.

After bending down to see which cubicle the woman was in, Razali entered a cubicle beside hers, stepped onto the toilet bowl and peeped over the cubicle wall at her. He saw that she was relieving herself.

He waited for her to finish before stepping outside her cubicle door to ambush her.

When the woman stepped out, Razali immediately covered her mouth with his hand and held the back of her head with his other hand to restrain her. The woman put up a struggle and fell onto the ground screaming but Razali continued covering her mouth in an attempt to silence her.

The woman broke free for a moment and ran for the exit. But as she was opening the door, Razali caught up with her and dragged her back in by her arms.

Meanwhile, a 37-year-old man, the woman’s colleague, stopped outside the female toilet as he had heard screaming. The woman spotted him through the opening and shouted for help but the colleague did not realise it was her. He only witnessed a woman being pulled backwards with her legs flailing.

Razali and the woman continued their struggle for a while before the woman told Razali that she would not report him to the police if he released her. Razali let the woman go and the latter got up and quickly left the toilet. She hurried back to her office to seek help from her colleagues.

As Razali stepped out of the toilet, the woman’s colleague, who was still outside the toilet, stopped him and brought him to the security office where the police were called.

The woman was later brought to the hospital and found to have sustained abrasions and bruises over forehead and limbs.

The prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon, sought preventive detention and more than three strokes of the cane for Razali, who has also been convicted for theft before.

Razali’s lawyer, Melvin Loh, who was assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, agreed with preventive detention, given that Razali was a repeat offender.

Loh highlighted that his client was the main companion of his 65-year-old mother, who was present in court for his sentence. Loh also submitted an Institute of Mental Health report, which diagnosed Razali as having mild mental retardation with an IQ of 63.

In sentencing Razali, DJ Kaur pointed out that Razali’s risk of reoffending was high and that he was not averse to using physical violence to commit his offences.

“This sort of offence is every female’s worst nightmare,” said the DJ. She suggested that the police enhance the security of isolated toilets.

Even though the victim showed “tenacity”, she has been traumatised by the incident and is afraid to use toilets alone now, said the DJ.