He went from cross-dresser to predator to strangler
He lived in a world most would find strange and few would understand.
It is not known how long he had kept it a secret, but Lu Choon Sien's twisted sexual urges were finally exposed when he was arrested last Nov 7.
At his flat in the eastern part of Singapore, police found a long-haired wig, a pair of silicone breasts, a handbag, blue panties, a bra, a blue dress and a pair of black leggings.
There were other incriminating and sinister items: Pieces of black rope and 142 obscene films in his laptop.
The IT support officer had a habit of dressing as a woman to satisfy his sexual urges.
But on Nov 7, he went too far.
Dressed as a woman, he tried to strangle a 27-year-old from his neighbourhood with a 3m-long rope.
Yesterday, the 33-year-old was sentenced to eight months' jail for voluntarily causing hurt and keeping porn.
Lu's mental state was outlined in court by Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran.
Mr Thiagesh said: "It appears that his actions were an escalation of his primary disorder, making him a grave danger and a menace to society."
Court documents showed that Lu, who was accompanied in court by his parents, suffers from fetishistic transvestism, sadomasochism and Schizoid Personality Disorder.
As a result, he retreats into a dark, fantasy world.
He derives sexual pleasure from wearing women's clothes and is aroused when he inflicts pain or through bondage.
A report by Dr Jaydip Sarkar from the Institute of Mental Health stated: "The present facts represent an escalation of his masochism disorder into a sadistic disorder."
Lu had moved from trying to do with others what he previously did alone to "arouse himself sexually and ejaculate".
Lu's lawyer, Mr Foo Cheow Ming, had asked the court to consider his client's mental health during mitigation. But Mr Thiagesh argued that Lu had full control.
Added Mr Thiagesh: "He made rational choices to dress up as a female, carry a rope in his handbag and attack a defenceless victim in the dead of night."
The woman, who cannot be named to protect her identity, bore the brunt of Lu's deviant fantasy.
At around 3am on Nov 7 last year, the woman was returning home when she had noticed Lu near her unit.
She thought Lu was a woman.
She was fooled by the grey jacket and shoulder-length wig he had on. Lu was also carrying a handbag.
As she was about to unlock her door, Lu struck from behind. He took the rope from his handbag and began strangling her with it.
Her screams alerted her husband, who was asleep in the flat. Lu fled the scene before he could be confronted.
While the physical scars the woman sustained appeared superficial, the mental scars run deeper, the court was told.
She now has to live with "nightmares every few nights".
She said in her victim impact statement: "Whenever I sleep, I have to switch on the lights. I also find it harder to sleep.
"This is because sometimes when I close my eyes, I will suddenly think of the incident, causing me trauma.
"After the incident, I even thought of leaving Singapore for my homeland, China."
"He made rational choices to dress up as a female, carry a rope in his handbag and attack a defenceless victim in the dead of night."
- Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran
HOW THE ATTACK HAPPENED
- The victim returns home at 3am when she notices Lu in a grey jacket and carrying a handbag. He attacks her from behind when she is about to unlock her door.
He takes a 3m rope from his handbag and tries to strangle her with it.
Her screams alert her husband and Lu flees the scene, leaving his phone behind, which the victim’s husband picks up.
TNP ILLUSTRATIONS: CELESTINO GULAPA
Lu later calls his phone and agrees to meet the victim’s husband at the void deck of the block where the attack took place. He is then arrested.
Strangler makes a bad call
The 27-year-old woman lay sprawled in the HDB corridor after barely surviving being strangled with a rope.
Her attacker, Lu Choon Sien, had already fled.
But, in his desperation to retrieve his mobile phone that he had dropped during the struggle with the woman, Lu, 33, made a mistake.
He called his own number.
The victim's husband, who had found the phone, answered the call. Unknown to Lu, the man had also called the police.
The husband told police about the attack at 3am: "While my wife was returning home, a stranger had tried to strangle her and the person was wearing a greyish skirt. I have found her mobile phone in front of my HDB unit."
At that time, the woman and her husband had assumed that the attacker was a female.
Lu told the man he had lost his mobile phone and agreed to meet the man at the void deck of the block where the assault had taken place.
When Lu arrived, police were waiting.
He had initially denied attacking the woman despite being identified by her. He later admitted strangling her and was arrested.
Lu's lawyer, Mr Foo Cheow Ming, said his client was generally a peaceful and law-abiding citizen.
"It's his (Lu's) first brush with the criminal legal system," he said.
The lawyer asked the court to consider probation or a nominal custodial term. Lu was said to have made good progress and was receptive to the treatment by his psychiatrists.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said the events that morning showed a "degree of planning and premeditation on the part of the accused".
"If not for the fact that the accused had dropped his mobile phone at the scene, it would be difficult to identify him," he said.
"This would have given him the opportunity to continue to offend while escaping detection by police."
Lu was potentially a grave and serious danger to the public, he added.