|www.corpun.com : Archive : 1998 : SG Judicial Apr 1998|
Judicial CP - April 1998
The New Paper, Singapore, 6 April 1998
Straits Times, Singapore, 21 April 1998
Rape bid on exec in 5-star hotelBy Tan Oooi Boon
A MALAYSIAN timber manager was sentenced to nine years' jail and 16 strokes of the cane for a brutal attempt to rape a woman guest of a five-star hotel here.
At about midnight on Sept 17 last year, Ho Wee Fah, 36, barged into the hotel room of the victim, a foreigner here on business, who was staying at the Sheraton Towers Hotel. He threatened to kill her if she did not give in, then he undressed her by force.
But she screamed for help and her cries were heard by some hotel guests.
The High Court heard yesterday that the woman's ordeal, lasting about 20 minutes, would have continued if other hotel guests had not heard her and called for help.
Ho tried to flee, but was caught by the hotel's security staff, after a chase.
He had wanted to claim trial but changed his mind yesterday and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted rape. In meting out a sentence which was close to the maximum of 10 years and 24 strokes, Judicial Commissioner Amarjeet Singh said that Ho's "disgusting conduct" had caused severe trauma to the victim, a foreigner here on business.
He added: "Sometimes an attempted rape can be as bad as the completed act. Had it not been for the timely intervention of the hotel staff, you would have no doubt...committed the wicked act on the victim."
JC Amarjeet Singh warned that the court would mete out severe penalties to discourage such crimes, as they would tarnish Singapore's image as a regional commercial and tourism centre.
The woman victim was a senior executive of her company.
In an unusual move, Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Tseng asked the court to withhold not only her name, but also her nationality and occupation, to protect her identity.
He revealed that earlier this year, she had received a letter mailed from Johor Baru to her home, threatening to harm her and her family if she testified against Ho. The alleged threat is being investigated by her own country's police.
On the attack at the hotel, the DPP said that Ho, also a guest at Sheraton Towers, had taken the lift together with the victim, who did not know him.
Just as she was about to enter her room, he asked her out for a drink. When she declined, he pushed his way into her room.
She screamed and put up a fierce struggle, until she had fallen to the ground several times. Ho stopped only when hotel staff knocked on the door.
He warned the woman not to open the door and went into the toilet to get dressed. But she put on her clothes quickly and opened the door let the hotel staff in.
Married with three daughters, Ho broke down and cried yesterday after his sentence was passed.
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