He sneaked up from behind and whacked the back of her neck until she fainted.
After taking her mobile phone, jewellery, cash and other belongings worth about $2,200, Chang Kar Meng carried and dragged his victim to a nearby grass patch on the morning of March 8, 2013.
There, he lifted her shirt and bra, took indecent photographs and raped her.
By then, she had regained consciousness but pretended to still be unconscious because she was afraid of him.
Yesterday, Chang, 27, a Malaysian who worked in a cafe kitchen here, was given 17 years' jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.
The court heard that at about 11pm on March 7, 2013, Chang was supposed to meet his girlfriend who had promised to treat him to a meal at a fast-food restaurant.
But she grew impatient and told him she was going home after he made his way to the fast-food outlet some two hours later.
He decided to head home as well.
Meanwhile, the victim, a foreign national who was then 33 and working here as a waitress, was on her way home from work.
She cannot be named to protect her identity.
After she alighted from a taxi at about 1.30am, she walked to her HDB block in Paya Lebar while reading the news on her mobile phone.
She did not realise that Chang was watching her.
He scanned the area and decided to rob her as he was short of cash.
Chang removed his slippers and hid them in nearby bushes before creeping up on the victim who was at the ground floor lift landing.
He covered her mouth with one hand and used the other to repeatedly hit the back of her neck - a move he learnt from movies - until she passed out.
Chang saw that a lift was approaching and quickly moved his victim away to avoid being captured on the lift's closed-circuit television camera.
But his actions were caught on camera and in the footage shown in court yesterday, he was seen kneeling beside his victim while pinning her to the ground.
After the lift doors closed, he dragged her away and took her sling bag, jewellery, $300 cash, mobile phone and other valuables.
He became aroused after coming into contact with her and moved her to a nearby grass patch.
There, he placed her under a small tree, lifted her shirt and bra, and took indecent photographs of her exposed breasts. She regained consciousness as Chang was touching her breasts.
Even though she was aware of what he was doing to her, she kept her eyes closed and pretended to remain unconscious because she was afraid.
She dared not resist or fight back even when he raped her because she was afraid that he would hurt or kill her.
After he was done, he used his T-shirt to clean himself and the victim, before taking more indecent photographs.
She was about to get up but quickly lay back down on the grass when she heard him coming back.
Chang carried her to a staircase landing and left her on a discarded mattress.
After taking another photograph of her clothed body, he left the scene.
She then got up and went back to her unit, where she slumped on her bedroom floor and cried.
When her husband woke up, she only told him that she was robbed and he made a police report.
Police officers later spotted Chang based on the description provided by the victim's husband, but lost sight of him after a chase.
Chang was arrested 5½ months later, following investigations, at his rental unit in Geylang.
The court heard that a large number of women's underwear and clothing were also seized from him.
He had deleted the indecent photographs by then.
Yesterday, Chang pleaded guilty to one count each of rape and robbery with hurt.
One other charge of possessing a black Nike sports bra and a white dress, which were believed to be stolen, was taken into consideration for sentencing.
Chang was the fourth rapist dealt with in court this week.
The total number of reported rape cases have risen over the past year, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Zhong Zewei said in court.
Last year, there were 163 rape cases, up from 120 in 2013.
This prompted DPP Zhong to call for a deterrent signal to be sent out to ensure public safety.
Justice Tay Yong Kwang pointed out that the courts cannot ensure public safety but said that criminals who breach public safety will be severely dealt with.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said his client was remorseful of his actions and that his actions were out of character.
He said Chang felt useless that his girlfriend had to treat him to fast food and that was what prompted the robbery.
And during the robbery, it was only when Chang came into contact with the victim's body that he decided to rape her, his lawyer said.
Chang was sentenced to 12 years' jail with 12 strokes of the cane for rape and five years' with 12 strokes for robbery with hurt.
The sentences are to run consecutively despite Mr Sunil's plea for them to run concurrently.
BY THE NUMBERS
24 - Number of strokes of the cane Chang Chang Kar Meng, 27, was given. He was also sentenced to 17 years' jail.
1- After his girlfriend calls off their date, Chang Kar Meng heads home. When he spots the victim at the void deck of her block, he removes his slippers and sneaks up behind her. He then knocks her out by repeatedly hitting the back of her neck.
2 - After taking her valuables, he drags her to a nearby grass patch, lifts her shirt and bra, and takes photographs of her. She regains consciousness but pretends to be unconscious out of fear. Chang then rapes her.
3 - Chang carries the victim to a staircase landing and leaves her on a discarded mattress. He takes another photograph of her clothed body before leaving with her sling bag. The victim gets up, heads home and tells her husband that she had been robbed.
OTHER RAPE CASES
HAPPENED ON MAY 4, 2013
The man who raped and robbed a woman in his car at a bridge in Kallang Bahru was given 13 years' jail and 18 strokes of the cane on Wednesday.
Haliffie Mamat, 24, a divorced father of one, was convicted on Tuesday, after a seven-day trial, of raping a 34-year-old woman he had picked up on River Valley Road.
The storeman was also found guilty of robbing the woman of a Louis Vuitton handbag, two mobile phones and about $300 in cash.
HAPPENED ON MAY 21, 2013
A full-time national serviceman was given 13 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane for one count each of rape, criminal intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful confinement - all involving a 13-year-old girl - and three counts of having sex with three other underage girls.
In May 2013, the man had pinned the girl down on a bed, threatened to hurt her with a knife and raped her.
When he first pleaded guilty last Sept 5, he could have been sentenced to reformative training instead of jail and caning because he was below 21.
But he retracted his plea and then changed his mind again, pleading guilty in March. By then, he had turned 21 and was no longer eligible for reformative training.
HAPPENED ON MAY 27, 2013
A 29-year-old Chinese national was sentenced to 11½ years' jail and six strokes of the cane on March 6 for raping his flatmate and for making an obscene video of the attack.
For three long hours, the victim was trapped in her rapist's bedroom as he raped her and filmed the attack.
She managed to make two phone calls for help and sent two text messages to her colleagues, who called the police.
This article was first published on May 29, 2015.
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