Singaporean transgender man pleads guilty to sexually abusing teenage girl

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BY VALERIE KOH
Tuesday December 8, 2015
09:36 AM GMT+8


SINGAPORE, Dec 8  — Born a woman, Zunika Ahmad wanted so much to be a man that she concealed her gender by identifying herself with a man’s name and even managed to marry two women in Indonesia without being exposed, by forbidding them from seeing or touching her genitalia, citing cultural beliefs.

The 39-year-old’s identity was revealed only after she was arrested in March last year for sexually abusing a teenage girl for about 20 months.

Yesterday, Zunika pleaded guilty to six charges of sexual penetration of a minor and one count of sexual exploitation of a young person.

Another 14 related charges will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that Zunika, together with her two “wives” and a stepdaughter, lived two doors away from her victim, who cannot be named to protect her identity.

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The two families were close, and the teenager and her two siblings would sometimes join Zunika’s family on outings and overseas trips.

In December 2011, the victim’s mother left her family.

Feeling sorry for the children, Zunika’s first “wife” invited them over to their house regularly.

The frequent meetings led to Zunika and the victim developing feelings for each other.

In January 2012, Zunika made the first move by kissing the girl — then 13 years old — on the cheek during a family outing.

Things escalated and two months later, they went from exchanging kisses to having regular sexual intercourse in Zunika’s bedroom or living room.

Zunika used a strap-on dildo or vibrators.

After about two years of the illicit relationship, Zunika decided to end the affair in December 2013.

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Three months later, the pair had an argument, and the victim told her family about their relationship. Zunika fled to Kedah, Malaysia, but decided to return to face the music. She was arrested at the airport on March 25 last year.

Psychiatric reports submitted to the court showed that Zunika suffers from gender dysphoria or transsexualism and displayed a strong desire to be male.

At 17, she started stuffing socks down her underwear, and later, began strapping on a dildo permanently.

The psychiatrist noted that Zunika even assumed the role of a man to the extent of obtaining a fictitious identity and marrying women by obtaining a fake passport. The first woman she married was pregnant with another man’s child.

Calling for a jail sentence of eight years, deputy public prosecutor Dwayne Lum said Zunika had abused the trust given by the victim’s father, who allowed his children to stay overnight at her house.

He added that Zunika had sexually groomed the girl, through the “increasingly lewd acts” they performed.

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But Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu noted that relationships tend to progress over time.

“Grooming has this indication of preparedness and not a natural progression,” he said.

“You can be promiscuous without seduction or taking advantage. She wanted, the victim responded.”

In mitigation, Zunika’s lawyer N. Sudha Nair argued that her client had not deliberately tried to deceive the victim by pretending to be male. She had, in fact, been living as a male for most of her life.

Nair argued for a maximum jail term of three years to be imposed, so that Zunika can serve her sentence quickly and then undergo a sex change operation. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Zunika faces six more charges in the State Courts for immigration offences, voluntarily causing hurt, and permitting a false entry in a register. — TODAY


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Singaporean woman acquitted of sexual assault, prosecution to appeal
Tuesday April 19, 2016
08:09 AM GMT+8


SINGAPORE, April 19 — The prosecution will be appealing the decision of a High Court judge who ruled that women cannot be charged with the offence of sexual penetration of minors — a decision that resulted in a woman being acquitted of six charges brought against her.

In a media statement issued yesterday, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said the ruling on the statute in question — Section 376A(1)(b) of the Penal Code —  is a matter of “public interest”.

The case in question involved Zunika Ahmad, 40, who was charged with 20 counts of sexually penetrating a teenage girl with a dildo on several occasions in a span of more than 20 months.

Zunika, who was born a woman but has identified as a man since her teens, had pleaded guilty to six of these charges, with the remaining counts to be taken into consideration for sentencing.

But her guilty plea to these charges were rejected by Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu, who found that the choice of words for the statute would reasonably indicate that it was intended to apply only to male offenders.

“The reference to a person who has a penis cannot be construed to include a woman without doing violence to common sense and anatomy,” the judge had said.

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Zunika was convicted of a separate charge of sexual exploitation under the Children and Young Persons Act and sentenced to eight months’ jail.

In its statement, the AGC noted that the prosecution had argued that the statute “was clearly intended by Parliament to be gender-neutral”, by setting out its legislative history.

“The prosecution had also submitted that an analysis of the wording of Section 376A(1)(b) in the context of the Penal Code as a whole showed that the provision was clearly intended to apply to both male and female accused persons,” the AGC added.

Having reviewed the written grounds of decision, “the prosecution has concluded that an appeal is merited against Senior Judge Kan’s finding (on Section 376A(1)(b))”.

The prosecution is also appealing against the decision to set aside Zunika’s plea of guilt and the order of acquittal of the six relevant charges, as well as the sentence imposed on the sexual exploitation charge. — TODAY


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