She was born a woman but has been living as a man since she was 16 years old.
Always wanting to be a man, Zunika Ahmad, now 39, accused her body of betraying her when her breasts grew.
So adamant was she to live as a man, she would use men's public toilets, took on jobs where her sex would be kept secret and attached a sex toy to herself whenever she had sex with other women.
She even married two women, keeping her real sex a secret from them. Zunika made it a point to never let them see her naked, even going to the extent of having sex with her first wife only in the dark.
Her secret eventually unraveled after she was arrested on March 25 last year for having a sexual relationship with an underage girl, who was her neighbour.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Singapore, the slim, short-haired woman pleaded guilty in court yesterday to six counts of sexually penetrating the minor and one count of committing an obscene act on her.
Fourteen other charges for similar offences will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
Zunika, who addressed the court in a gruff, masculine voice, committed the offences in her flat in north-eastern Singapore between March 16, 2012, and December 2013.
The jobless woman penetrated the girl, who was then between 13 and 14 years old, with items including a sex toy worn around her waist.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Dwayne Lum said Zunika had thought she was a boy before she even started kindergarten.
Quoting a report from psychiatrist Poon Ngar Yee from the Institute of Mental Health, DPP Lum added that Zunika realised for the first time that she was a girl only when she wore her kindergarten uniform - a dress.
Dr Poon also wrote that Zunika would watch her younger sister play with dolls when they were growing up. Zunika was not interested in such girly stuff - she would rather play with a wooden rifle her grandfather made for her and pretended to be Superman.
When she was 12, her body changed.
Zunika had told Dr Poon: "I felt my body was betraying me, how come I develop breast (sic) like my sister."
DPP Lum told Justice Kan Ting Chiu that after her primary education, Zunika chose to attend a secondary school that did not allow girl students to have long hair. By doing so, she could keep her hair short.
DPP Lum added: "She had always desired to have a penis. When she was around 17 years of age, she would put socks inside her underwear to pretend it was her 'penis'.
"Since 20 years of age, after she purchased a (sex toy) from the Internet, she had been wearing (the sex toy) all the time."
She also started experiencing pain due to endometriosis, a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of a woman's uterus grows outside of her uterine cavity.
When she was 20, she started taking Depo-provera injections to ease the pain. It is a hormone injection that prevents pregnancy and she later stopped having her periods.
She also took on jobs such as a sales assistant, machine operator or cargo hand. But she would quit once the companies offered her permanent positions to avoid medical check-ups and because she was afraid that others would find out that she is a woman.
Zunika met her first wife in November 2000 and the Singaporean did not suspect that her then "boyfriend" was a woman. Zunika, who is a Singaporean, told the woman that she was an Indonesian man. Dressed as a man, she also gave herself a male name.
Some five months later, the couple started having sex twice a week.
Zunika claimed that according to Batak (an Indonesian ethnic group) culture, the wife should not touch or see the "penis".
She also claimed that she would no longer be able to have an erection and that her penis size would be reduced if the wife touched or laid her eyes on it.
DPP Lum said: "(The wife) also stated that the accused would have sex with her in the dark as well as using a pillow or comforter to cover her view, hence she had never seen the accused's 'penis'."
Seven months into the relationship, the wife had sexual intercourse with a man and got pregnant. She told Zunika that she was the father of the baby without realising that this was an impossible feat.
DPP Lum said: "The accused felt that it was godsent news that the wife was pregnant.
"In order for the accused to hide her gender (sic) and marry the woman, the accused obtained a fake passport in Indonesia.
"The accused was legally married to the woman using her fake identity in Indonesia and Singapore."
The couple and the woman's daughter moved into their flat a year later.
In 2007, Zunika met another woman, also a Singaporean, and they got married in Indonesia on Aug 24, 2008.
DPP Lum said: "The accused also told her second wife that under Batak culture, should she touch or see the accused's 'penis', it would not be able to sustain any more."
Zunika's lawyer, Ms N. Sudha Nair, said that the two marriages are now void.
She added: "This was because my client had given inaccurate information when she registered her marriages and same-sex marriages are not recognised in Singapore."
She penetrated girl, 13, with sex toy
She knew that her neighbour was just 13 years old.
But this did not stop Zunika Ahmad, now 39, from having consensual sexual relations with the underage girl.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Dwayne Lum said that Zunika first met her victim in 2011 and the girl was unaware that Zunika was a woman. Instead, she believed that Zunika was an Indonesian man.
After school, the girl would frequently visit Zunika for chats in her flat. Soon, the pair began developing feelings for each other.
On Jan 21, 2012, Zunika kissed the girl on her cheek for the first time in a taxi on their way to a family outing at Changi Beach.
The following month, she took the girl to her kitchen and kissed her on the lips. She also removed the teenager's top and performed an obscene act on her.
On March 16 that year, the girl was alone in Zunika's flat when the woman asked her if she would like to have sex with her. The teenager agreed and Zunika penetrated her with a sex toy that she wore around her waist and thighs.
She used a comforter to hide the sex toy from the girl.
DPP Lum said that from that month, the girl, her elder brother and their younger sister began to spend most of their time at Zunika's flat.
The three youngsters would go back to their own home, two doors away, from time to time throughout the day to shower and change clothes. They would also sleep overnight at Zunika's flat.
DPP Lum said: "The victim's father was aware of this and allowed it to continue as he trusted the accused and both families were on good terms at the time."
He told Justice Kan Ting Chiu yesterday that the girl and Zunika began engaging in sex frequently from then on.
In December 2013, Zunika felt guilty about the relationship and decided to end the affair. They stopped having sex.
However, they had an argument on March 21 last year and the girl told her family members about their activities.
Zunika left her home the next day with her passport and NRIC, telling her sister that she "had to leave Singapore due to loan-shark problems".
The sisters took a 10-hour bus ride to Kedah, in northern Malaysia, and Zunika came clean about her offences when they reached their destination.
The sister persuaded Zunika to return to Singapore and surrender to the police.
The girl made a police report on March 23 last year and officers arrested Zunika two days later. It was then that she was revealed to be a woman.
In court yesterday, DPP John Lu urged Justice Kan to jail Zunika for eight years.
He said: "The accused had grossly breached the trust reposed in her by committing heinous acts against the victim."
Zunika's lawyer, Ms N. Sudha Nair, asked her client to be jailed for less than three years.
Besides the sexual offences, Zunika is also accused of four counts of using a forged Indonesian passport at Singapore checkpoints, and one count each of voluntarily causing hurt and permitting a false entry to be made at the registry of births and deaths. She will be dealt with on these charges separately.
Zunika is out on $60,000 bail and will be sentenced at a later date.
For each count of sexually penetrating a minor, she can been jailed up to 20 years and fined.
This article was first published on December 8, 2015.
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