British trio who pleaded guilty to reduced charges in rape trial sentenced to 5½- 6½ years with caning

Three Britons of Vietnamese descent were sentenced to jail terms between five-and-a-half and six-and-a-half years with caning today (Aug 15).

The accused had pleaded guilty to reduced charges of aggravated molestation yesterday (Aug 10) after going on trial two weeks earlier, for allegedly raping a Malaysian woman at Carlton Hotel on Sept 10, 2016. 

The reason for the reduction in charges was not mentioned in court, reports The Straits Times

All three accused, Khong Tam Thanh, 22, Vu Thai Son, 24, and Michael Le, 24, pleaded guilty to outraging the woman's modesty by having sex with her while wrongfully restraining her.

Thanh and Son also admitted to a second charge of outraging her modesty by committing another sexual act on the victim.

For their crimes, Thanh was given six years' jail and eight strokes of the cane, while Son was sentenced to six-and-a-half years' jail and eight strokes of the cane.

Le was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail and five strokes of the cane. 

The three accused had met the victim at the nightclub, Zouk, during a trip to Singapore on Sept 9 to attend the dance music festival Ultra Singapore, and a stag party.

Another friend of the trio, Mr Trinh Viet Anh, 24, struck up a conversation with the victim and she suggested that they retire to his room at Carlton Hotel, where they had consensual intercourse.

Thanh, Son and Le later returned from Zouk and stayed in another room with the rest of their friends.

At 4am, Mr Anh let Thanh into his room, before leaving to join the rest of their friends in the other room, which Thanh had come from. 

Thanh then violated the victim who was sleeping and had protected sex with her. 

After the deed, he left the room to rejoin his friends, leaving the door to the room open.

Son then visited the room, and violated the woman, having unprotected sex with her. 

He left after that, and Le entered.

Le was having protected sex with the victim when she suddenly woke up and demanded to know who he was.

The victim also pushed Le away and covered herself with a blanket, screaming that she would have never agreed to have sex with someone ugly like him. 

The victim also confronted Mr Anh although the latter claimed he was not involved, nor had any knowledge of the events that transpired. 

The victim lodged a police report that afternoon.

During the trial, the defence lawyers cited a case in 2010 in which five youths between 17 and 19 who were originally charged with gang-rape had their charges reduced to aggravated molestation after 19 days of trial. 

The lawyer representing Thanh, Mr Shashi Nathan, read out a letter of apology in which his client offered the woman $5,000 as compensation for his actions.

Mr Shashi also added that Thanh had acted in a moment of folly, after Mr Anh suggested that he could "try his luck” with the victim. 

Thanh is the father of a five-year-old girl. 

The other two accused also submitted letters to the court, apologising to the victim and expressing their remorse.