SINGAPORE, March 13 — A teenager who raped a 14-year-old girl in his Sengkang home was yesterday sentenced to 10 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane, in a case which left the High Court judge “deeply perturbed by the manner and mode” of the offences.
Anthony Lim Yao Ming was 17 when he raped the girl, and the incident took place while he was under police investigation for sexual offences against another girl. Starting from when he was 13, he had preyed on four victims who were between the ages of 12 and 14.
In court yesterday, Anthony, who will be 19 this year, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual penetration of a minor under the age of 16.
The victims in these two cases had low to borderline intelligence.
In both cases, Anthony befriended the victims through Facebook in 2015 on separate occasions, asking them to be his girlfriend.
One victim, then 13, agreed and they had unprotected sex at least once at his home.
On January 25, 2016, they met up to have sex again. The next morning, the girl’s mother found her bloodstained underwear and questioned her about it. The girl lied at first, but later admitted that she had sex with Anthony. They then made a police report.
For the other victim, Anthony pretended to be a 16-year-old polytechnic student and they kept up online contact for while before it stopped. Anthony reconnected with her in May 2016 and a month later, he posed as his mother and sent the girl text messages asking why she had not met up with him.
The girl fell for his trick and they met on June 29 for the first time.
Telling her that he had a surprise for her, Anthony took her home in a taxi.
Deputy public prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy told the court that when the girl learnt that they were going to his home in Sengkang, she did not want to go, “but felt that (he) might be angry with her if she refused... and agreed to follow him”.
When they were at his home, Anthony took her to his room and kissed and hugged her, but she pushed him away and told him to stop. Ignoring her, he started to take her clothes off.
“When she protested, he shouted at (her) and told her that she did not love him and did not want to show him her body,” Uthrapathy said.
She pleaded with him, but he threatened to punch or slap her if she did not comply.
“She was crying throughout this time (as he raped her) and tried to push (him) off her, but he continued to shout at her and did not stop,” Uthrapathy said.
Leaving his home later, the girl got into a taxi and headed for school.
Along the way, she phoned her form teacher and told her, tearfully, about the rape.
The teacher then contacted the girl’s mother, and they made a police report.
Urging the court to impose a sentence of at least 10 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane, DPP Uthrapathy said that the accused is “an incorrigible recalcitrant who must be deterred and appropriately punished for his shocking audacity”.
“His modus operandi involved exploiting the gullibility and loneliness of adolescent girls and convincing them that they shared a genuine romantic relationship, only to use them for his own sexual gratification at the very first meeting,” she added.
Defence counsel Nakoorsha Abdul Kadir said that Lim was “an immature young boy… not an intelligent criminal mastermind of any sort”.
He asked for a nine-year jail term, with 12 strokes of the cane.
In meting out the sentence, Justice Kannan Ramesh said that the rape offence was “laced with premeditation”.
Anthony had “used a barrage of text messages in his mother’s name to have (the) victim agree to meet him after school”.
“This was obviously to pressure the victim into agreeing to meet him by making her feel guilty. This was compounded by the accused telling the victim, when he met her after school… that he was going to surprise her. At no time did he make his intentions known. He clearly abused the trust the victim had placed in him.”
With the victim putting up a resistance before and during the rape, “it seems fairly obvious that if the accused had not used deception to lure the victim to his flat, she would not have gone with him, and the offence would have been averted”, Ramesh noted.
Anthony’s conduct was also “reprehensible” given that he was already being investigated for sexual offences against another girl and was undeterred by it, he added.
Court documents revealed that apart from the two cases above, Anthony had committed other sexual offences involving underaged victims between June 2013 and March 2015.
Eight other counts of similar offences — including sexual penetration of minors — were taken into consideration for sentencing purposes.
While Ramesh accepted that Anthony’s age and plea of guilt were “relevant mitigating factors”, he stressed: “Rape is a grave offence. It is violation of a person’s body… Deterrence and prevention become key sentencing considerations. Where the rape is aggravated and against a minor, the gravity of the offence is significantly heightened.”
Lim’s sentence will be backdated to July 1, 2016. For aggravated rape, he could have been jailed between eight and 20 years, with at least 12 strokes of the cane. — TODAY