S'pore man who raped niece over 4 years given more than 29 years' jail & 24 strokes of cane

He violated her after she grew closer to him and slept over at his house.

Daniel Seow | January 12, 2024, 01:37 PM



Warning: This story contains descriptions of rape and self-harm. Audience discretion is advised.

After getting close to his seven-year-old niece, a man repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her in his home bedroom from 2017 to 2021, to the point that he infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.

He also told the victim after sex that it would be better if she were thinner, which caused her to develop an eating disorder and engage in self-harm due to feelings of low self-worth.

When arrested, the man claimed to the police that his niece had seduced him, and that she told him she enjoyed having sex with him.

After pleading guilty to three rape charges, the now 47-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to 29 years' and six months' jail, and 24 strokes of the cane on Jan. 11, The Straits Times and Today reported.

Another 15 similar charges of sexual abuse were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Both the man and the victim cannot be named due to a court-ordered gag.

Grew close to niece before sexually assaulting her

From 2014 to late 2018, the victim and her older brother were cared for by their paternal grandparents on weekdays, as their parents had divorced and their mother was busy working, ST reported.

The victim got close to her uncle and his wife, who were her godparents, during this period, as the pair would often have dinner at her grandparents' house.

The sexual abuse started in 2016, when the victim was five or six years old.

She and her uncle were in a bedroom at her grandparents' home, when he kissed her, Today reported.

The victim did not resist as she did not understand why he did that, but this happened on a few more occasions.

From 2017, the victim regularly stayed overnight at her uncle's house, after she begged her mother and stepfather for permission to sleep over on weekends.

She would share a bed with her uncle in his bedroom while her aunt slept in a separate room with her two children.

Court documents indicated that the victim's parents were uncomfortable with the frequent visits and the sleeping arrangement, but allowed the overnight stays because they trusted her uncle would not act inappropriately.

Raped her repeatedly and videoed the acts

In June 2017, the man began having unprotected sex with the victim frequently during the overnight stays, and also photographed the acts with his phone, ST reported.

He showed her a pornographic video the first time he raped her, and told her she would enjoy sex.

The victim protested as she was in pain, but he ignored her, Today reported.

After the rape, he also told her it was their secret and that she shouldn't tell anyone about what happened.

Once, when she asked him to stop doing the acts, he purchased lollipops for his children and her brother, but not for her, according to ST.

During another occasion, he promised to give her S$10 to S$20 for performing a sex act on him.

The prosecutor said that the victim did not disclose the abuse as she feared that her uncle might be jailed or that it would affect his relationship with her aunt.

She was also scared that she might be placed in a home or that no one would believe her in the first place.

According to court documents, the victim tried pleading with her uncle on a number of occasions to stop, saying her aunt was a "very good wife", Today reported.

In response, the man told the victim that his love for his family was "different" from his love for her.

He also told her that he was her boyfriend and that she should not have another one.

How the offences were discovered

The abuse continued until 2021, when the victim was 11 years old and started having her period.

Worried about getting pregnant, she confided in two friends in October 2021, and they persuaded her to tell a school counsellor about the sexual abuse.

The counsellor immediately informed the school management, who alerted the authorities.

Five days later, on Oct. 26, the man was arrested and he has been in remand since, according to ST.

A total of 131 discs were seized from his bedroom, many of which contained child pornography.

The man's thumb drive also contained about 12,000 images of child abuse.

Impact on her mental health

An Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report noted that the victim reported emotional symptoms such as mood swings, stress, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts, according to Today.

Prosecutors told the court that three years after reporting the offences, she continues to have thoughts of suicide, flashbacks and nightmares, and still harms herself with sharp objects, ST reported.

The victim is currently in a welfare home, and is undergoing counselling for the psychological trauma.

'Accused violated victim's trust as uncle, godfather': Prosecution

The prosecution sought a jail term of between 28 and 30 years with 24 strokes of the cane, on account of factors such as abuse of trust, premeditation, the length of the offending period and severity of harm to the victim, Today reported.

The prosecution asserted that "instead of acting as a parental figure to the victim", the accused had "violated her trust in him and preyed on her week after week".

"The age of seven is significant for most children but for the victim, that age marked the start of her four-year-long torment at the hands of her uncle and godfather whom she loved and trusted," the prosecutor said.

'Horrendous actions have destroyed victim's innocence and childhood': Judge

In his sentencing remarks, the judge said the man's "horrendous actions" had "destroyed the victim's innocence and childhood", ST reported.

He highlighted the last sentence of the girl's victim impact statement which read, "I hate my uncle and I wish he never existed."

In a letter the man submitted to the court seeking leniency, he never apologised to the victim or asked for her forgiveness, the judge pointed out.

The man also wrote that he had found God while in custody.

To which the judge said, "While the accused will have to answer to his maker after this life, he will have to answer to the law now."

If you need emotional support, you can contact the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) at:

24-hour Hotline (1-767)

24-hour CareText (WhatsApp 9151 1767)

CareMail ([email protected])

All information shared with SOS is confidential, and people can remain anonymous.

Other helplines:

Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222 (24 hours)

Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (for primary school-aged children)

SHECARES@SCWO: Call: 8001 01 4616 | Whatsapp: 6571 4400 (for targets of online harms)

Image from Sam Moghadam Khamseh via Unsplash.