Waiting boyfriend shocks rapist
Encounter with partner of woman he had just drugged leads to arrest of S'pore's 'worst serial rapist'
It was through "sheer luck" that he was caught.
That was what Justice Chan Seng Onn said yesterday before sentencing former logistics executive Azuar Ahamad - whom the prosecution referred to as "the worst serial rapist to be dealt with in Singapore" - to 37½ years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.
The longest jail sentence handed out to a sexual offender so far is 42 years, given in 2009 to Bala Kuppusamy, then 48, who was also ordered to receive 24 strokes of the cane for robbing seven women and sexually violating three of them.
Azuar, 44, who is twice divorced and has a 13-year-old daughter, pleaded guilty on Aug 6, 2012, to raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth.
Twenty-nine other charges, including those involving another 21 women, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Between December 2008 and August 2009, Azuar raped and sexually assaulted eight women and molested another 14.
He committed non-sexual offences, such as theft, with the remaining three.
The 25 women were then between 18 and 38 years old.
The judge highlighted that his offences came to light only by "sheer luck" due to an incident that took place on Oct 27, 2008.
Personal banker Tan Hui Ling, 30, who was not sexually assaulted, testified on April 3 last year that she met Azuar at a cafe in Bishan's Junction 8 mall that day to discuss insurance products.
Ms Tan said that she became light-headed after drinking some coffee Azuar bought for her.
Her last memory was going back to her seat at the cafe after she left to use the restroom.
Unknown to Azuar, her boyfriend, Mr Lee Jun Jep, was waiting for her at another table. He approached her as she walked unsteadily out of the cafe with Azuar.
The court heard that Azuar looked shocked and backed off when Mr Lee introduced himself.
Mr Lee testified that Ms Tan fell asleep as he drove her to hospital.
She woke up only after he blasted the stereo, shouted at her, shook her hard and slapped her face repeatedly.
The only thing she remembered afterwards was being passed a bottle at the hospital for a urine test.
Azuar was arrested on Feb 9, 2009, due to this case and was released on a bail of $30,000 the next day.
But being out on bail did not deter Azuar - who was sentenced to six years in jail in 2003 for offences including spiking a woman's drink before molesting her - from targeting the other women.
Even though he admitted drugging Ms Tan, he denied spiking the drinks of his other victims before sexually violating them.
Instead, he insisted that they had drunk themselves into a stupor.
Following a lengthy trial, Justice Chan threw this notion out yesterday and said that the prosecution had proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Azuar had spiked the women with stupefying drugs.
He said that he "could not sense true remorse" in Azuar, and that he could be dangerous to society if he were not given a long jail sentence.
Those convicted of rape can be jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned for each count.
(The victims) will continue to live in fear of this possibility.
- Deputy Public Prosecutor Andrew Tan on the possibility of Azuar's recordings of his acts of rape being circulated.
He debased victims by filming rape: Prosecutor
He was "the worst serial rapist to be dealt with in Singapore".
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Andrew Tan did not mince his words when he talked about Azuar Ahamad in court yesterday.
Calling the 44-year-old former logistics executive "inhumane", he urged Justice Chan Seng Onn to sentence him to at least 45 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.
Azuar had spiked his victims with stupefying drugs such as Midazolam, which is listed as a poison under the Poisons Act, before sexually violating them.
DPP Tan said that by doing so, he had exposed them to the risks of medical allergies and even death.
In his submissions, he said: "The possession and sale of such poisons are regulated and restricted to qualified professionals...because they may have detrimental effects to those with underlying allergies, in overdoses or when mixed with other substances."
DPP Tan also stressed that Azuar was not wearing any protection when he raped his unconscious victims and could have exposed them to sexually transmitted diseases.
He pointed out that Azuar had "debased" his victims by recording his acts of rape on his mobile phone.
DPP Tan said: "(They) will never know if there are copies of such video recordings which continue to be in circulation, or if (Azuar) had exhibited (the clips) to others, and (the victims) will continue to live in fear of this possibility."
He still insists drinks not spiked
Right until the end, Azuar Ahamad insisted that he did not spike his victims' drinks.
This indicated a lack of remorse for his offences, said the prosecution yesterday.
In a four-page handwritten mitigation form, Azuar admitted that he had taken advantage of his victims while they were unconscious.
But he said that he did not slip sleeping tablets into the women's drinks.
Maintaining that the women had instead drunk themselves into a stupor, he said: "I (couldn't) judge their alcoholic limitation ...or stop them from drinking those alcoholic drinks. They drank those alcoholic drinks freely (of) their own will."
Azuar also said that he was remorseful and regretted his acts.
Begging the judge to give him another chance, he said: "I should be allowed to rebuild my life and restart again...It's time to move on, to amend and to rebuild my life and future."