A judge in Singapore has sentenced a Saudi Arabian diplomat to four strokes of a cane and over 26 months imprisonment for molesting a hotel intern, Sputnik reported.
Bander Yahya A. Alzahrani, 39, an attaché to the Saudi Embassy in Beijing, was in Singapore in 2016, vacationing with his wife and three children. They were staying at a luxury resort on the island of Sentosa, where he allegedly groped and kissed a young woman who was an employee of the resort.
Alzahrani has denied the allegations, saying the 20-year-old woman is making false allegation as part of an extortion scheme.
He has been working in the Beijing embassy for two years, and could enjoy diplomatic immunity had the crime occurred in Beijing instead of Singapore.
Judge Lee Poh Choo dismissed Alzahrani's claims of conspiracy, saying, “The accused preyed on a young, naive victim. He knew and intended his actions.”
According to Judge Lee, the victim broke down during her testimony. “[It was] painful to remember everything in so [much] detail… [she] was put through the trauma of recalling and talking about the incident which had been haunting her and she wanted to forget.”
It is not uncommon in Singapore to be handed down corporal punishments such as caning for offences such as drug use, sexual abuse, vandalism, or overstaying one’s visa.