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28 years’ jail, 24 strokes of cane for gang leader who raped 13-year-old multiple times

SINGAPORE —The leader of a youth gang, who denied raping a 13-year-old multiple times, has been sentenced to 28 years’ jail and 24 strokes of cane on Thursday (April 26), following his conviction of aggravated statutory rape last month.

28 years’ jail, 24 strokes of cane for gang leader who raped 13-year-old multiple times

Koh Rong Guang has been sentenced to 28 years’ jail and 24 strokes of cane on Thursday (April 26), following his conviction of aggravated statutory rape last month.

SINGAPORE —The leader of a youth gang, who denied raping a 13-year-old multiple times, has been sentenced to 28 years’ jail and 24 strokes of cane on Thursday (April 26), following his conviction of aggravated statutory rape last month.

Koh Rong Guang, who was 21 when he committed the offences, will be appealing against both his conviction and sentence, said his lawyer Irving Choh, who had asked for a 20-year jail term.

Koh is out on a S$100,000 bail – posted by his father – pending his appeal.

On March 19, the 25-year-old was convicted of three counts of rape, along with eight other offences, including sexual assault by penetration, sexual exploitation of a child, voluntarily causing hurt, and criminal intimidation.

Koh, who had committed these offences while serving a two-year probation for rioting with a deadly weapon in 2013, was acquitted of a fourth rape charge as the victim’s version of facts were not corroborated during the course of his trial.

Asking for a 28-year jail sentence to be imposed, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Khoo said he subjected his victim to persistent sexual abuse between November 2013 and Jan 25, 2014.

He treated the now 17-year-old, who cannot be named due to a court order, with “utter disregard, as nothing more than a ‘f*** buddy’ – someone to have sex with and ‘throw’ once he was done using her”, Mr Khoo said.

Noting that the victim, whom Koh had referred to as a "plaything" and a "slut", was just a child then, and did not consent to have sex with him, the DPP said Koh had lured her out to meet him, isolated her at stairways, and on two occasions, placed her under fear to ensure that she complied with his sexual demands.

Once, with a spanner, he forced her to fellate him in addition to raping her at a staircase landing in Choa Chu Kang Centre near a karaoke outlet.

Another time, he threatened her and a member of his gang, 20-year-old Fu Yiming, with a brick before raping her. Fu, who is currently serving a sentence at a reformative training centre for money laundering, had befriended the victim some time in October 2013, and introduced her to Koh.

To ensure that the victim did not reveal the offences committed against her, Koh took naked photos of her, and told her to pose in a compromising manner with Fu.

Emboldened by her silence, Koh had even offered the victim to three other gang members to have sex with. The silence was broken only months after the incidents, when the photos Koh took were made into a collage and circulated on Facebook.

For each of this three convictions, Koh was sentenced to 14 years’ jail and 12 strokes of cane, with two of the sentences to run consecutively. He could have been sentenced up to 20 years’ jail for each statutory rape conviction.

Commenting on the stiff sentence, Judicial commissioner Audrey Lim said it is warranted to reflect Koh’s culpability and deter other would-be offenders from following in his footsteps.

“In my view, there are no mitigating circumstances,” she added, stating that his offences were “planned and premeditated”, and there are “clear” aggravating factors.

The court on Thursday also heard that the victim was also a subject of physical abuse by her father, who had chased her with a knife and chopped off her hair. To avoid him, the secondary school student used to spend most of her time away from home. That was how she got acquainted with Fu.

Following Koh’s sexual assaults, she resorted to acts of self-harm for close to three years as a coping mechanism, and had to undergo psychotherapy.

During the trial, she had testified that she no longer trusts men after these incidents.

Asked what she did in the immediate aftermath of one rape incident, she told the court that she went home and took a bath as she felt “very disgusted”.

“I didn't know who to tell (about the incident). I was very scared … I never said anything at all … It was very embarrassing. (If) you tell people, then people (will surely) judge you,” she said.

In his sentencing submissions, DPP Khoo wrote: “No child should have to endure what (the victim) has had to at the accused’s hands. The message to this accused and to like-minded offenders must be a strong and unrelenting one.” 

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