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Man convicted of sexually assaulting male couchsurfer who slept on same bed

SINGAPORE — A 36-year-old foreigner living in Singapore was convicted on Thursday (May 20) of performing a sex act on a male couchsurfer without his consent in January 2019.

Man convicted of sexually assaulting male couchsurfer who slept on same bed

Ryan Edward Poquiz Perez, who worked as a customer care officer in Singapore, plied his 25-year-old victim with alcoholic drinks before they went to sleep.

  • Ryan Edward Poquiz Perez met his victim via the Couchsurfing platform
  • The victim agreed to share a bed with Perez for two nights before flying to Indonesia
  • Perez plied the victim with alcoholic drinks on his last night in Singapore
  • After he fell asleep, Perez performed a sex act on him
  • Perez will return to court on June 23 for mitigation, sentencing

 

SINGAPORE — A 36-year-old foreigner living in Singapore was convicted on Thursday (May 20) of performing a sex act on a male couchsurfer without his consent in January 2019.

Ryan Edward Poquiz Perez, a Filipino, contested a single charge of sexual assault by penetration against the tourist, who was 25 then.

Both men had dinner and drank alcohol in the hours leading to the assault, before the victim fell asleep on the bed. He was later roused when Perez violated him.

They had agreed to a shared sleeping arrangement when they met via the online Couchsurfing platform, where hosts offer a place in their homes for others to stay the night.

Perez, a former customer care officer, has been held on remand since the incident. 

‘PHYSICALLY TOUCHY’ 

The victim, a German who is now married and working in Switzerland, visited Singapore from Jan 9 to 11 in 2019. He cannot be named because of a court order to protect his identity.

Perez responded to his Couchsurfing request, offering to be his host here. 

While the victim preferred to sleep separately, he agreed to share a bed because the hosts he contacted earlier were unavailable or did not respond to his request. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Ying Min said that when the victim first met Perez for lunch, he observed that his host was “physically touchy”. 

But Perez “toned down” after learning that the victim had a girlfriend.

Nothing happened on the first night, other than Perez suggesting that they meditate before sleeping.

The next day, both men met for dinner at a hawker centre before Perez took the victim to the 1-Altitude rooftop bar at Raffles Place for drinks. 

The victim was set to fly to Yogyakarta, Indonesia the next morning to attend his girlfriend’s graduation.

The victim had testified during the trial, which began in January, that he thought they each had two Singapore Sling cocktails at the bar that night. 

Perez had told him that he ordered the cocktails for them. 

But, unknown to the victim, what Perez drank was cranberry juice.

‘REALLY UPSET’ ABOUT ASSAULT

The pair left for Perez’s home soon after midnight and Perez suggested that they have more drinks. 

The victim said that he was in control of himself but was tired.

Before going to sleep, they carried on a conversation they had at the bar. The victim told Perez that there had been a recent crackdown on gay people in Indonesia because of religious sentiments.

DPP Lim said that the two men also agreed “they would never kiss a man”. 

The victim said that he recalled this conversation because he felt he had misjudged Perez as being gay.

Later roused from his slumber by Perez performing oral sex on him, he pushed the man away, pulled up his shorts and turned away from Perez.

He said during the trial that he was “really upset” about what happened. 

He left the apartment soon afterwards and called the police. He also phoned his best friend in the United States to tell him what happened.

Perez’s defence was that the victim had consented to the act but suddenly pushed him away after experiencing “sexual regret”.

DPP Lim argued that this claim could not stand, because the victim had, for example, gone on to call the police and even missed his flight to Indonesia because of the investigations.

He had also returned to Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic to testify, taking a swab test and serving a two-week stay-home order to do so.

DPP Lim added: “What peals loud and clear is the fact that the accused knew that the victim had a girlfriend at that point in time, was heterosexual, and had no interest in males. 

“Consequently, the accused must have known that the victim would not have consented to the (sex act). This was why he had to ply the victim with alcohol to lower his inhibition.”

Perez will return to court on June 23 to give his mitigation plea.

He could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

Related topics

sexual assault court crime couchsurfing

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