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The Straits Times
April 3, 2023
A 26-year-old man who shared a flat with his close friend from university spiked her water with a drug he bought online and twice tried to rape her.
He was caught red-handed on the second occasion after the woman poured away the spiked water and pretended to be asleep.
On Monday, he was sentenced to 17 years’ jail and 14 strokes of the cane by the High Court after he pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted aggravated rape, one charge of sexual assault by penetration, and one charge of causing the victim to take an intoxicating substance to facilitate his crimes.
Four other charges were taken into consideration.
The man cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the identity of the victim, who is also 26.
The two had known each other and had been platonic friends since 2015. They attended the same university in Malaysia, together with the accused’s girlfriend.
In May 2019, the victim and the perpetrator came to Singapore to work as front office executives in the same hotel, and rented different rooms in the same flat.
The man’s girlfriend, who also worked in Singapore, occasionally joined them for meals and often stayed the night.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kor Zhen Hong said the man knew that the victim had been advised by a doctor to drink more water, and would routinely offer her a glass of water in the evenings.
Some time in 2019 or early January 2020, he bought a bottle of a liquid drug for RM200 (S$60) on messaging platform WeChat with the plan to make the victim unconscious so that he could enact his sexual fantasies.
The bottle contained gamma-butyrolactone, an industrial chemical which does not have any approved medical use.
When consumed, it is converted to gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, a commonly known date-rape drug that causes euphoria, reduced inhibition and sedation.
One night in January 2020, the man offered a spiked glass of water to the victim, who drank it.
Later that night, he sexually violated her on her bed as she drifted in and out of a sedated state.
When he tried to rape her, she suddenly sat up and told him to stop. He replied that he had not done anything and left the room when she fell back into sedation.
The next morning, she saw her panties on the floor, but did not confront him as she only had a vague recollection of what had transpired.
“She trusted that the accused would not harm her given their close friendship,” said the DPP.
On the night of March 29, 2020, the man offered the victim a spiked cup of water.
She poured the water out of the window, and left the empty cup on her table to give the impression that she had drunk the water.
The DPP said she did so due to her growing suspicions about him.
In the early hours of March 30, 2020, she pretended to be sound asleep when the man entered her room and shone a light into her face.
When he climbed onto the bed and tried to rape her, she grabbed his arms and confronted him. He said he was putting a blanket over her, and left the room.
The victim and the man then exchanged a series of text messages, but he continued to maintain his innocence.
She initially considered not reporting him to the police on account of their close friendship, but eventually did so for her own safety.
He was arrested later that morning.
DPP Agnes Chan said the man showed a high level of premeditation and had scant regard for the victim’s safety, as he had no qualms about giving her a dubious substance.
She said the text messages exchanged after the victim caught him red-handed clearly showed the woman’s utter disbelief and shock that he would harm her.
Defence counsel Shashi Nathan said his client deeply regretted what he had done and that he knew he had destroyed his career and let down his family.