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Judicial CP - November 2004

Corpun file 14575

Straits Times, Singapore, 16 November 2004

Family snakehead syndicate smashed

More leaders of JB's main human smuggling op jailed in Singapore

By Ben Nadarajan

A FAMILY-RUN syndicate in Johor Baru that smuggled people from Malaysia into Singapore has been smashed after another two of its leaders were caught and extradited to Singapore.

Swimming from Malaysia to Singapore

A POOR DEAL: For about $1,000, a customer would be put up in a cheap hotel or lodging house for a few days and then given a tyre and told to swim to Singapore. Those who refused were ruthlessly shoved into the sea.

They were caught in the middle of last month, less than six months after their boss was arrested by Malaysian police in May and handed to the Singapore police.

Tay Sau Soon, 33, and Tay Hock Ann, 25, were trying to revive the business left behind by Tay Boon Hua, 45, who was convicted in June.

At least 10 immigrants, caught trying to sneak into Singapore by sea, identified the duo as the new masterminds behind JB's largest human smuggling syndicate.

The men were each jailed for a year and ordered to be caned six times.

Police Coast Guard investigating officer, Senior Staff Sergeant June Lim, said: 'For family-run syndicates, it isn't enough just to catch the big boss, because the other family members would try to resurrect the business.'


Tay Boon Hua

Tay Sau Soon Tay Hock Ann

Tay Boon Hua (left), 45, the syndicate's mastermind, who once controlled 80 per cent of the market. Tay Sau Soon (centre), 33, Boon Hua's younger brother and a compulsive gambler who made big bets. Tay Hock Ann (right), 25, Boon Hua's son, and as unscrupulous and ruthless as his father


The number of illegal immigrants arrested by Police Coast Guard:
2000: 307
2001: 123
2002: 49
2003: 133
2004 (Jan-Oct): 134

Boon Hua, better known among his customers as Ah Chai, is Hock Ann's father and Sau Soon's eldest brother.

He controlled 80 per cent of the market and is said to have tried to sneak at least 1,000 illegal immigrants into Singapore by sea since 1997.

He became known as the man to go to for a 'foolproof' way of sneaking into Singapore.

Following his arrest, the late-night activities at sea came almost to a standstill. But since July, at least 10 illegals have been plucked out of the water.

The uncle-nephew team were behind this.

Peddling durians from the back of a vehicle was not enough for the duo, especially since Sau Soon was a compulsive gambler who bet heavily on soccer matches.

They were initiated into the syndicate by Ah Chai in 2002, when his business was booming.

Initially, the pair ran simple errands such as buying food for the customers.

But they soon moved up the ranks to become his right-hand men, arranging for customers' accommodation at cheap hotels or lodging houses and driving them to the beaches where they would start their swim to Singapore.

When Ah Chai was arrested, Sau Soon and Hock Ann went into hiding. But once the storm died down, they started using Ah Chai's reputation and their own contacts.

Their business strategy was as unscrupulous as Ah Chai's.

Charging about $1,000 a customer, they would house them in a cheap hotel or lodging house for a few days.

Then, in the middle of the night, they would take the group to a kampung or beach, hand them tyres and ask them to swim towards Singapore. Those who refused were ruthlessly shoved into the sea.

The Singapore police gave their Malaysian counterparts vital information provided by the illegals, such as the duo's contact details and places they usually conducted their activities.

They were arrested in their semi-detached house in Permas Jaya. Three other alleged syndicate runners were also picked up by the Malaysian police.

With these two 'snakeheads' - Chinese jargon for people smugglers - held in Singapore, the Police Coast Guard's chief investigating officer Chong Choo Ha is optimistic the number of illegal immigrants by sea will drop sharply.

'The snakeheads thought they were beyond our reach. But they now know we have ways to get them,' he said.

Corpun file 14644

Straits Times, Singapore, 24 November 2004

Serial rapist attacked pregnant woman

He also took nude photos of her and threatened to scar her with 'acid'

By Elena Chong

SHE was early for work and after sorting the papers on her boss' desk, she went to the toilet at about 8.40am.

Already in jail: Suresh Nair was given 16 years' jail and 16 strokes for his latest sentence.

The place was empty. But when she opened the door of her cubicle to leave, the 22-year-old was stunned to see a man blocking her way.

Suresh Nair Vellayutham shoved her back in and for the next hour, he raped, molested and photographed her in the nude.

To keep her quiet, the 29-year-old Malaysian used a toy pistol and a knife to strike terror in her. He also threatened to scar her face with a bottle of liquid he said was acid.

Her ordeal did not end even when she told him she was pregnant. He said he did not believe her.

IN THE hotel incident, Suresh Nair Vellayutham was arrested after a vital clue left behind in the hotel room - where a flight stewardess was raped and her colleague molested - led the police to his girlfriend.

He left a memory card for a digital camera, which had photographs of his girlfriend, in the hotel room.

The police traced his girlfriend, who was shown wearing the uniform of another airline where she worked, to her HDB home in Tampines.

The memory card was part of the 'damning evidence' submitted by the prosecution during his trial last year.

His fingerprints were also found in the hotel room.

Suresh Nair had followed the two women into the hotel lift, and got out with them on the 16th floor, after they had checked into the hotel with their flight crew on April 8 last year.

As the women were moving their luggage into the room, he came up from behind with a toy pistol and forced them into the room.

He then sexually assaulted the women.

And to continue the torment, Suresh Nair threatened to publish the lewd pictures on the Internet if she made a police report.

But by the end of the day, the mother-to-be was overwrought and told a colleague. That was on March 21 last year.

Yesterday, the serial rapist, already caned 24 times and serving a 26-year jail term for raping a foreign flight attendant and molesting her colleague in their hotel room last year, was sentenced to 16 years in jail. It took effect yesterday. Justice Woo Bih Li also gave him another 16 strokes of the cane.

Suresh Nair, who has an advanced diploma in computer studies, pleaded guilty to committing aggravated rape in a Cantonment Road building and to two other charges. Three other charges were taken into consideration.

These charges had been levelled against him last year, when he was accused of attacking the two stewardesses 18 days after his crime against the pregnant woman.

However, he refused the prosecutor's offer to take them into consideration, protesting his innocence.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Khoo gave vivid details of how Suresh Nair terrorised the woman into kissing him and performing sexually humiliating acts.

He pointed a toy pistol at her left temple and when she struggled, he fished out a kitchen knife from his black sling bag and held it to her neck. Terrified for her life, she stopped screaming.

Suresh Nair then took out a water bottle with some liquid and a white powdery substance floating on it. He threatened to throw the 'acid' on her face if she screamed again. Fearing he might do it, she did not scream or retaliate anymore.

After taking out a digital camera from a pouch, he told her in English that he wanted to have sex with her. But when some people entered the toilet, he whispered to her to pretend she was having a conversation on a mobile phone.

A while later, her assistant manager called out her name and asked if she was feeling all right. She did as she was told by Suresh Nair and said she was not feeling well.

When the assistant manager left, he photographed her in various stages of undress. It was then that she said she was pregnant.

After raping her, he forced her to perform further lewd acts on him. He then apologised to her and told her to dress up and remain in the cubicle for 15 minutes longer.

A tip-off led to his arrest at the void deck of an HDB block in Tampines on April 11 last year. He led police to his girlfriend's home, where they found his bag and the 'weapons' he had used.

Yesterday, the victim sat sombrely as DDP Khoo described the attack. She did not stay for the sentencing.

Now a full-time mother, she declined to be interviewed.

Corpun file 14645

Straits Times, Singapore, 27 November 2004

Family's 14-year saga of rape and incest ends

Granddad assaulted daughter and later 2 granddaughters, as did their stepdad

By Elena Chong

OVER two separate courts, details emerged yesterday of a tragic saga of rape and incest, spanning 14 years and endured by a woman and her two mentally retarded daughters.

At the end of it, the woman's father and her second husband drew long prison terms, as well as, in the husband's case, 24 strokes of the cane.

Yet, it was the twisted behaviour of the older man, spared the rod at 61, that had gone on longer.

Some 14 years ago, in March 1990, he had raped his 18-year-old daughter when she was just one month married: After a drink too many, he had forced himself on her in her bedroom.

Following this, for a year and a half, father and daughter would have consensual sex at least once a month until she was four or five months' pregnant, in October 1991.

She went on to give birth to two girls, in March 1992 and March 1993, whose IQ was found by a child psychiatrist to be in the moderate to mild-moderate mental retardation range.

But the old man had not mellowed.

Ten years on, in 2002, he decided he 'wanted to experience sex with a virgin' - as Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kah Wei put it yesterday - and bore down on the older girl.

Between June and July that year, he tried to rape the then 10-year-old, then settled for making her perform oral sex on him.

He raped her in November 2002 and January last year.

Yesterday, DPP Chong called for a 'substantial' jail term, saying the man had abused his positions of trust to satisfy 'his vile urges'.

'The offences which the accused has committed against his daughter and granddaughter, his own flesh and blood, are so depraved and aggravating that they completely overshadow and outweigh any mitigating factors in this case.'

And yet he was not the only man forcing himself on his granddaughter.

The girls' mother had divorced in 1994, after her husband discovered her naked with her own father.

She married another man two years later, in September 1996, with whom she had two sons.

It was this 44-year-old man who now preyed on his two stepdaughters.

When the older girl turned 11 - already violated by her grandfather - her stepdad raped her in March last year.

Then, in June or July last year, as the two sisters were lying beside him and watching television, he forced the older girl to perform oral sex on him.

Then, after raping her, he outraged the modesty of the younger girl, then 10, who had giggled when she saw what was going on.

It was not yet over.

In Jan 16 this year, the stepfather again raped his stepdaughter and had her perform oral sex on him.

Addressing the court on sentence, DPP Ravneet Kaur noted how the stepfather had committed at least 27 sexual acts, over almost a year, against the victims - who were abused so often they stopped resisting his advances.

'It is abhorrent, the manner in which the accused treated the victims like playthings at his disposal,' she said.

The offences came to light after an aunt asked the older girl why she was scratching her private parts.

The truth came tumbling out and the horrified aunt called the girls' father. The whole 14-year saga was eventually unravelled by police investigators.

Yesterday, in their respective courtrooms, both men pleaded for leniency, saying they were sole breadwinners.

The bespectacled grandfather said that his own flesh and blood now looked down on him. He claimed he was 'not in the right state of mind' when he committed the offences and begged for forgiveness.

Justice Choo Han Teck jailed him for 22 years.

In a courtroom one storey above, the stepfather - of medium build and clad in yellow T-shirt and light-brown trousers - received a 32-year sentence and 24 strokes of the cane from Justice Tay Yong Kwang.

The two girls are now being cared for by their aunt.

No family members were in court yesterday.

Copyright 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

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