4 rape cases reported every 9 days

4 rape cases reported every 9 days

He said he had only intended to rob her but after he "karate chopped" her neck until she passed out, he raped her as well.

He fled after that but following police investigations, Chang Kar Meng, 27, a Malaysian who worked at a cafe kitchen here, was arrested 5½ months later.

His case, which was heard in court yesterday, prompted the Deputy Public Prosecutor to call for a deterrent signal to be sent out to ensure public safety.

Pointing out that Chang was the fourth rapist dealt with in court this week, the DPP also cited how the total number of reported rape cases have risen over the past year.

Last year, 163 rape cases - or four rape every nine days - were reported.

This was up from 120 in 2013.

Chang was sentenced to 12 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane for rape, and five years' and 12 strokes for robbery with hurt. The judge also ordered the sentences to run consecutively.

Commenting on the increase in reported rape cases over the past year, Mr Vikram Nair, a Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, said he was surprised and concerned.

He also pointed out that it may have stemmed from more people speaking up recently even though the offences may have occurred much earlier.

"The courts are right to send a strong signal to remind people that these acts will not be taken lightly," he told The New Paper, adding that education and enforcement remain key in reducing such crimes.

Rape cases are not the only ones making headlines. Other sex-related crimes like molest have also been in the news.

Just yesterday, the court also heard the case of Mohamed Shariff Samsudin, a recalcitrant offender who has been in and out of jail since 2005 for molest.

Despite this, just three months after he was released from prison last December, the 31-year-old struck again. This time, his victim was a 12-year-old girl.

REGISTRY

His case raises again the oft-debated call for a sex offenders registry in Singapore. Most lawyers TNP spoke to yesterday supported the idea of having one.

Former policeman Luke Lee said the registry should be open to the public so that residents could check on whether their neighbours are former sex-related offenders.

The lawyer said: "This could protect many potential victims, especially children."

When asked if making it open to the public could stigmatise the offenders, Mr Lee, who used to be an investigator specialising in rape cases, replied: "It's a small price to pay for the damage they have done."

Lawyer Louis Joseph also supports the idea of having a registry - but not open to the public.

Instead, it should only be made available to agencies such as the police and the prisons.

But lawyer Rajan Supramaniam, who used to be a senior prison officer, said a sex offenders registry goes against the Yellow Ribbon Project, which aims to promote the acceptance of ex-offenders.

"Former offenders can be helped with proper rehabilitation and psychiatric treatment," he added.


This article was first published on May 29, 2015.
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