Singapore work permit holder jailed six years, caned for sexually assaulting drunk woman at Yishun karaoke lounge

Yesterday, 31-year-old work permit holder Li Jie was sentenced to six years’ jail and three strokes of the cane. For sexual assault by penetration, Li could have been jailed up to 20 years, and fined or caned. — TODAY file pic
Yesterday, 31-year-old work permit holder Li Jie was sentenced to six years’ jail and three strokes of the cane. For sexual assault by penetration, Li could have been jailed up to 20 years, and fined or caned. — TODAY file pic

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SINGAPORE, March 3 — While singing and drinking at a karaoke lounge, Li Jie seized the opportunity to pin his drunk acquaintance down on a couch and sexually assault her.

Yesterday, the 31-year-old work permit holder was sentenced to six years’ jail and three strokes of the cane.

His sentence was backdated to September 16 last year, when he was first remanded.

The Chinese national and machine operator was aged 28 when he committed the offence on August 26, 2018.

He had met the victim, a permanent resident also aged 28 at the time, on the online dating application Tantan about a week before that.

They then chatted on WeChat and met for beer at a coffee shop though nothing untoward happened then.

On the night of the offence, she had invited Li for drinks at a Yishun coffee shop.

The pair shared about four bottles of beer there before going to a karaoke lounge nearby, where they booked a room and began singing.

The victim, an auditor who cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity, grew increasingly intoxicated after consuming a relatively large amount of alcohol through the course of the night.

The court heard that sometime between midnight and 1.50am, Li pinned her down on a couch in the room.

She then felt something protruding against her thigh near her private parts.

Having surmised that he was trying to have sex with her, she struggled but he was too strong for her and continued to pin her down.

She tried to shout for help and pressed the service call button on the karaoke controller but no one responded.

Li then reached beneath her dress and sexually assaulted her.

Her level of alcohol intoxication “significantly impeded her ability to physically resist (Li’s) sexual advances”, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Winston Man told the court.

Li eventually let her go when she told him she needed to use the toilet urgently. She then went to the lounge’s service counter and called the police, saying someone had tried to rape her.

Police officers arrived at about 1.55am. One of them observed that she was crying and behaving hysterically, and was also too traumatised to speak coherently.

She soon calmed down and reiterated what Li had done to her. He was arrested at the scene.

The police later referred the victim to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where she was found to have suffered some superficial scratches on her cheek and arms, as well as bruises on her upper thigh, knees, arm and hand.

In mitigation, Li’s lawyer Chung Ting Fai said that his client is married with two young children.

The lawyer also argued that the assault was not premeditated and Li had not used gratuitous violence on the victim.

For sexual assault by penetration, Li could have been jailed for up to 20 years, and fined or caned. ― TODAY

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