JOHOR BARU, Feb 25 — The teenage girl who was allegedly raped by nine soldiers in Kluang late last year has been hospitalised after failing to take her own life last month, sources familiar with investigations revealed today.
It was learnt that the 17-year-old victim tried to commit suicide on the rooftop of the Kluang Parade shopping centre at Jalan Sentul in Kluang town centre on January 16, but was talked out of it by a security guard who later alerted the police.
The sources also revealed that one of the suspects, a 22-year-old army private, was the boyfriend of the victim and was believed to have been instrumental in the alleged gang rape.
“The victim, who worked as a sales girl, initially did not elaborate about her predicament to the authorities due to fear.
“Police later found out about her alleged rape and her ordeal in being forced to have sex by the military personnel for several hours,” said one of the sources to Malay Mail today.
The teenaged girl eventually lodged a report at the Kluang police station at 8.52am on February 22 and stated that she was angered at what her boyfriend did and wanted action to be taken on the nine suspects.
Following the report, a team from the Kluang district police Criminal Investigations Department’s (CID) sexual crimes unit initiated investigations and liaised with the Mahkota Camp’s military police corps’ special investigations branch.
The victim was also sent to the Hospital Enche Besar Hajjah Khalsom for medical observation.
Sources said the military police managed to track down nine “rank and file” military personnel aged between 19 and 24 in the camp for their alleged involvement in the incident said to have happened in mid-December last year.
“The nine male suspects were handed over to investigators at the Kluang district police headquarters by the Mahkota Camp’s military police corps at 8.20pm on the same day as the report lodged by the victim.
“The suspects were rearrested by police and had their identities documented to facilitate investigations under Section 375B of the Penal Code for gang rape,” said another one of the sources.
Section 375B of the Penal Code is used where a woman is raped by one or more in a group of persons. The law provides for imprisonment for a term of not fewer than 10 years and not more than 30 years, if convicted.
Checks showed that the suspects had been garrisoned at the Mahkota Camp in the last few years.
The sources also said initial investigations revealed that eight out of the nine suspects had forcefully taken turns to gang rape the victim for more than two hours at a popular hotel at Jalan Mata Kucing in the Kluang town centre.
“The victim had alleged that during the entire ordeal from about 4pm to 6pm, the suspects had forcefully held her head, hands and legs,” said a source.
The sources said that the victim and her boyfriend had earlier checked into the hotel room where they had sex and were later interrupted by the man’s eight other military friends.
The sources added that the boyfriend then asked the girl to have sex with them too but she refused. The girl was then gang raped.
Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd confirmed yesterday that the suspects were arrested last Thursday and have been remanded for seven days until March 1.
This latest incident is believed to be the first report of nine armed forces personnel arrested together for gang rape.
Over the years, several armed forces personnel have been arrested, charged and sentenced for rape and attempted rape.
On December 14 last year, Corporal Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Razak, 37, was sentenced to 13 years’ jail and six strokes of the cane by the Sessions Court, which found him guilty of raping a friend’s wife during a sleepover at the couple’s home in Kuala Lumpur in 2016.
On November 26 last year, army personnel Muhammad Bukhori Muhammad Zawawi, 21, was sentenced to 16 years’ jail and two strokes of the cane by the Sessions Court for raping a teenager in front of others at Pasir Puteh in Kelantan in 2015.
In 2015, a former Malaysian military attache Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, 39, pleaded guilty to a charge of stalking and attempting to rape a New Zealand woman at her home in 2014. He has since been freed after serving a sentence of nine months’ home detention in New Zealand.
Rizalman was serving as a second warrant officer at Malaysian High Commission in Wellington when the incident happened, and the case caused public outrage when he fled to Malaysia, citing diplomatic immunity. He was eventually sent back on October 24, 2014 to stand trial in New Zealand.