Singaporean man gets more than 12 years’ jail, caning for raping unconscious woman at Downtown East chalet

D’Resort chalet at Downtown East, where the rape and sexual assault took place in 2018. — TODAY pic
D’Resort chalet at Downtown East, where the rape and sexual assault took place in 2018. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, March 29 — After his friends egged him on, Yap Chun Chieh raped a drunk and unconscious woman that they had taken to their chalet room at the Downtown East lifestyle hub in Pasir Ris. 

Another man sexually assaulted her, and a third man filmed the act on his mobile phone. 

Yap later took the woman, then 24, to a hotel as she could not be roused, and molested her there. 

For his acts, the 40-year-old Singaporean was today jailed 12 years and three months, and given 10 strokes of the cane. 

The now-unemployed man began serving his sentence immediately.

He pleaded guilty in the High Court last month to one charge each of rape and molestation. Another charge of molesting the victim in a car was taken into consideration during sentencing.

She cannot be named because of a court order to protect her identity.

‘Opportunistic, arguably emboldened by various factors’

High Court judge See Kee Oon noted that Yap’s offences were opportunistic and he was “arguably emboldened by various factors”, such as the victim being completely vulnerable and incapable of resisting his advances.

The judge also said that he was not persuaded by arguments from Yap’s lawyers that the constant and immense peer pressure that he received should carry “very substantial mitigating weight”.

Yap’s psychiatrists had assessed him to have a mild neurocognitive disorder due to an earlier bout of meningo-encephalitis — an inflammation of the brain. They said that it had a direct contributory link to his behaviour by impairing his judgement and decision-making.

Justice See, however, ruled that the disorder did not impair him “to such a serious extent to mitigate the circumstances”. 

He had retained the ability to function as a working adult, was gainfully employed and “clearly able to understand the nature and consequences of his conduct”.

Nevertheless, Justice See gave Yap credit for pleading guilty and voluntarily telling the victim what had happened after the offences.

At the time of the incident in September 2018, Yap worked as a manager and bouncer at Club V5 Tycoon at Ming Arcade near the junction of Orchard Road and Cuscaden Road.

One of the men in his group, Tay Boon Huat, 28, had booked a chalet room in D’Resort at Downtown East from September 17 to 18 in 2018 for his friends from the nightclub.

They included Yap; Yong Chun Hong, 31, also a manager and bouncer at Club V5 Tycoon; Gan Soon Chai, 35, a cashier at the club; and Yeo We Chieng, 42.

The professions of Tay and Yeo are unknown.

Gan, a Malaysian who filmed the sexual assault at the chalet, was in 2019 jailed one year and three months, and fined S$20,800 (RM64,000). 

Tay was given 10 years and three months in jail and five strokes of the cane, while Yong’s case is pending. Yeo was not prosecuted. 

What happened

After midnight on September 17, 2018, all five men went to the nightclub to work or drink.

The victim’s friends got into a drunken dispute outside the club with another group and left when the dispute was resolved, leaving her behind. 

She then drank more at Club V5 with Tay, Yong and Yeo.

At about 7am, the men took her to the chalet in Yeo’s car. All of them except Yeo molested her on the way there.

When they got to the chalet, Yap helped the unconscious victim onto one of two queen-sized beds in the room.

Yong and Tay told Yap something to the effect of: “The woman is already lying here and you still are not having sex with her. What are you waiting for?”

Soon afterwards, Tay molested the victim and undressed her. Yong also touched her before moving to the outdoor barbecue area.

Encouraged by his friends, Yap raped the woman. 

Tay also sexually assaulted her, while Gan furtively filmed the assault as he lay on the other bed. He stopped only when Tay noticed him.

Gan later showed Tay a portion of the video. Tay tried to delete it from Gan’s phone, but unknowingly failed to do so.

At about 9am, Yap got dressed and helped the victim to do likewise, before calling for a taxi to take her home.

She could not be woken up when they reached her home, so Yap decided to take her to the nearest hotel — Hotel 81 Premier Star at Geylang — to sleep. He molested her when he realised she was still asleep.

The woman regained consciousness around 7pm and was startled to find herself sleeping next to a stranger. She and Yap left the hotel together after she paid S$70 for the stay. They went their separate ways.

Even though she knew something had happened to her, she did not report it to the police immediately because she felt depressed and did not know what to do.

Later that night, she met a friend at Club V5 to discuss what had happened and saw Yap. Wanting to forget the matter, she did not confront him.

She did so a week later at Club V5 when she returned with friends to drink. He came clean about the men’s crimes, saying that he was sorry and insisting nothing had happened in the Hotel 81 room.

After learning the truth, she told him to keep it to himself and asked again why he had done that to her. He told her he knew it was wrong and apologised again.

She confided in her mother, who encouraged her to make a police report. 

The authorities later arrested all five men and discovered the video footage in Gan’s mobile phone.

For rape, Yap could have been jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned. 

For molestation, he could have been imprisoned for up to two years, fined or caned, or received any combination of the three. — TODAY

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