By Vivien Chan
HE'S only 20 but Lim Boon Tai stands accused of leading the gang-rape of a teenage girl with four of his friends on 26Dec last year.
Despite the charge of a serious crime hanging over him, the burly young man didn't flinch or cower when photographers rushed to take his photo yesterday.
In the High Court, as the charges were read out, Lim stood in the dock, ramrod straight.
His left hand gripped a handphone while a earpiece was stuck in his left ear.
Outside court, he chatted casually with his co-accused, Mohamed Firdaus Roslan, 18.
The two are out on bail.
The other three accused - Muhammad Shafie Ahmad Abdullah, 19, Mohd Sadruddin Azman, 19, and Rishi Mohan, 17 - are in remand because they couldn't make bail of $50,000.
All, except Rishi, face one charge of rape each. Lim and Rishi face one charge of oral sex each, and Rishi and Mohamed Firdaus face one charge of sexual assault each.
If convicted, each accused person faces up to 20 years in jail, with fine or caning, on each charge.
Yesterday, the prosecution gave details of how the attack on the 17-year-old girl allegedly unfolded in the early hours of 26 Dec.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Gordon Oh's opening address portrayed Lim as a key player.
He lured the victim with the promise of supper and, with the others, plied her with alcohol.
He later forced himself on the girl who was by then too tired and drunk to resist.
He then sparked the gang-rape.
After taking the bleeding victim to the bathroom to wash up, he raped heron the floor.
The next day, the victim told her boyfriend, who called the police.
DPP Oh said that on Christmas night last year, the victim was on her way home when Lim phoned her and invited her out for supper.
It was not mentioned in court how he knew her.
He told her to meet him at the Woodlands bus interchange. But when she arrived, Rishi was waiting for her.
Took victim to flat
Instead of going for supper, he took her to Muhammad Shafie's flat, which was nearby.
There, she was introduced to Shafie, Firdaus and Mohd Sadruddin Azman.
Firdaus then left the flat.
The victim played card games with the four men and drank at least five cups of "a cocktail of vodka and soft drink", which was a forfeit for losing each time.
The group also played "Truth or Dare" and, when challenged to kiss Lim during the game, the victim refused.
By then, "her head was spinning" and "her vision was affected" because of the alcohol she had consumed.
When Firdaus returned to the flat and knocked on the door, the four men told the girl to hide in one of the bedrooms with Lim. They thought it was Shafie's parents.
In the room, Lim asked the victim to kiss him, and pushed her onto a mattress on the floor.
Lim lay on top of her and persisted in his sexual advances despite the victim's attempts to push him away.
"The victim was feeling tired and her head was very heavy whilst resisting him," said DPPOh.
In the end, she gave in and allowed Lim to have sex with her.
Afterwards, they returned to the living room where she still felt dizzy.
Lim persuaded her to rest in Shafie's room, where the five men gathered.
DPP Oh said Lim pulled the girl onto a mattress and told the rest: "Let's start."
They stripped her naked, after which Rishi and Firdaus took turns to sexually assault her, the DPP said.
Then, while Sadruddin, Firdaus and Shafie took turns to rape her, Lim and Rishi forced her to perform oral sex on them.
They were so brutal that she "bled from the combined sexual assault".
DPP Oh told the court that the mattress was stained with the girl's blood.
But Lim was not finished. He allegedly carried the girl, who was still naked, into the toilet and tried to "remove traces of seminal fluid" from her.
Then he raped heron the toilet floor.
The offences allegedly took place between 4am and 6am on 26Dec last year.
Boyfriend called police
Almost three hours after the incident, at about 8.45am, the victim's boyfriend called "999" and reported that the victim had been molested.
Four days later, the five accused were arrested. Shafie and Firdaus are each represented by two lawyers, while Sadruddin, Lim and Rishi have one lawyer each.
Yesterday afternoon, on the first day of the trial, Dr Wee Keng Poh, principal forensic consultant from the Health Sciences Authority, testified that "spermatozoa was detected" on swabs taken from the victim after a medical examination.
DPP Oh said that evidence will show that Lim's DNA was found on the mattress in Shafie's room.
He also said that Lim's and Shafie's DNA were found on swabs taken from the victim.
The prosecution's 53 witnesses will include a friend of the accused persons, who was present at the flat at the time of the incident.
DPP Oh also said that psychiatrists will testify that the victim now suffers from "post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the sexual assaults", and has "depressive symptoms".
The trial continues.
This article was first published in The New Paper.