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19 Sep 2019, Edition - 1528, Thursday

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3 Britons sentenced to jail, caning for sexually assaulting woman at Carlton Hotel

channelnewsasia.com

Three British men found guilty of sexually assaulting an intoxicated, unconscious woman at Carlton Hotel last September were on Tuesday (Aug 15) sentenced to up to six-and-a-half years’ jail and 8 strokes of the cane.
Khong Tam Thanh, 22, was sentenced to six years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane. He will start serving his sentence on Aug 22, giving him one week to spend with his family and young daughter, who flew in from the UK to see him.

Vu Thai Son, 24, was given six-and-a-half years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane. Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng said Vu is the most culpable of the trio, because he did not use a condom when he sexually assaulted the 22-year-old victim, exposing her to the risk of an unwanted pregnancy or an STD.

Since Vu has been in remand since Sep 12, 2016, his jail term will be backdated.

Michael Le, 24, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years’ jail and five strokes of the cane. Le will start serving his jail term on Aug 18, giving him a few days to spend with his family and young nephew, who flew in from the UK to see him.

“They took advantage of (the victim’s) vulnerable state … and violated (her),” Judge Hoo said. The men, British citizens of Vietnamese descent, had “no respect for her dignity and no regard for any … harm caused”, she added.

Judge Hoo also noted Khong and Vu had left the hotel room door ajar for the next person to enter, “facilitating further sexual assault” of the victim.

Both Khong’s daughter and Le’s nephew were in court on Tuesday, as were more than 10 family members.

Prosecutors had asked for seven years’ jail and caning for Khong and Vu, and six years’ jail and caning for Le.

The trio pleaded guilty to reduced charges of aggravated outrage of modesty and molest on Monday. They originally faced rape charges.

“This is a case with rather disturbing facts,” Judge Hoo said.

The trio knew the victim had “returned to the privacy of the hotel room to be with their friend Richard”. But when Richard left the room, leaving the intoxicated woman alone and asleep, his friends took turns to have their way with her.

Judge Hoo said the men’s conduct was “reprehensible”, but acknowledged the trio’s remorse. Their plea of guilt had “spared the victim the agony of testifying and being subject to cross-examination by three defence lawyers”, Judge Hoo said.

For aggravated outrage of modesty, the trio could have been jailed for between 2 to 10 years and caned. For molest, Khong and Vu could have been jailed for up to 2 years and fined and/or caned.

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