Four Singaporeans who were convicted of raping two girls in Taiwan last Friday will not serve jail sentences, according to Taiwanese media. The four men, who are undergraduates, will instead serve “suspensions” or supervised probation in Taiwan.
Two of the men will be under supervised probation in Taiwan for five years each, while the remaining two will be under supervised probation for four years each.
All four men, who were 23 when they committed the offences last year, were caught when they tried to leave Taiwan on 13 Dec 2016, after raping their victims. One of the men, Lau Wei Seng, was an exchange student studying at a Taipei university while his friends, Bryan Ong Kun Jun, Tan Juan Yin and Lim Wei Xuan, were visiting him.
The men reportedly invited the two local women to their room and got them drunk, before forcing them to engage in oral and anal sex, despite their repeated pleas.
The men were reportedly sentenced to suspensions instead of harsher sentences since they reached settlements and paid compensation to their victims. The victims forgave the men and even pleaded for leniency on their behalf.
During the court case, friends of the defendants in Singapore alleged that the students are not the type to commit such a crime and opined that the acts must have been consensual. One friend who went to school with all four men in Singapore told a local news outlet:
“I just don’t think they will make someone drunk on purpose and do such stupid things. Based on gut feel, I think it was consensual. I don’t think they’ll risk everything over something so stupid. I don’t know what actually happened, I don’t think anyone will unless if they were there.”
Despite this, the men were charged for the offences and faced up to ten years in prison before they were sentenced.
In delivering the judgment, the court noted that the undergraduates had been “taught a tough lesson” since they were unable to continue their studies in Singapore over the past 8 months while they were detained and awaiting trial in Taiwan.
The court reportedly added that prison terms would hinder the students’ rehabilitation and result in social costs.