SINGAPORE — Upset over a quarrel she had with her boyfriend, Zhang Lutian called the police late in the night, claiming that she was injured and he was preventing her from leaving.
On arrival, officers were told by Zhang that she had been sexually assaulted by her partner, which led them to deploy even more officers to the scene.
The accusation and others that she made turned out to be false and Zhang officially withdrew them slightly a month after the incident.
The 22-year-old was on Monday (Oct 2) sentenced to five weeks’ jail after pleading guilty to one count of providing false information to a public servant.
The court heard that Zhang, a China national, and her boyfriend got to know each other via WeChat messaging application and began to have a relationship sometime in August 2021. She moved into his home shortly after that.
On March 9 last year, the couple got into an argument that went on past midnight.
Court documents showed that at about 12.38am, Zhang called the police reporting that “my ex-boyfriend hurt me and I am bleeding. He prevent(s) me from leaving”.
It is not clear why she addressed him as “ex-boyfriend” or if they had really broken up at that point in time.
Two police officers who arrived at the residence were informed by Zhang that she had been sexually assaulted by the man.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kevin Liew said that from then until about 6.24am, a total of 10 ground response force officers, five investigation officers and four forensic officers were deployed to the location “given the serious nature of the accused’s allegation of sexual assault”.
Zhang repeated the rape allegation when her statement was recorded at the police complex later on that same morning, claiming that she had been raped on three occasions and physically abused.
She repeated the false rape allegations to the medical officer during her medical examination that day.
As a result, the victim had his passport impounded and his mobile phones seized and he was made to sit through a 44-minute video interview with the police.
DPP Liew said that besides the officers deployed to the residence on March 10, other personnel were assigned to investigate the false accusations, constituting a waste of public resources.
These personnel included a doctor, a nurse, a crew to clean up after a medical examination, and five forensic officers activated to do a forensic screening on her boyfriend’s mobile phones.
Zhang withdrew her false information on April 20 last year.
Seeking a jail term of between six and 10 weeks, DPP Liew pointed to the gravity of the false accusation, the fact that Zhang made the accusations thrice and withdrew them only about a month and 10 days afterwards, and that she made the allegations to get the other party into trouble.
Zhang, who did not have legal representation, on Monday began reading out in court a mitigation plea in English that she had prepared but began crying after a few words, which led to a court interpreter reading the statement on her behalf.
She said that the incident happened barely a few weeks after she turned 21, adding that her “cognitive ability” and awareness of the seriousness of the offence “was still immature”.
She also said that it was committed in the heat of the moment with no premeditation, and that her actions had caused little harm to public interest aside from the inconvenience for the victim.
She claimed that she tried to withdraw her case roughly a week after making the accusations, but was scheduled to have her official statement recorded only a month later.
She said that she suffered from severe depression and anxiety, which added to her emotional state when making the police report.
When asked by Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun if she had any evidence of her mental condition, Zhang said that she had wanted to return to China to get a medical report because she could not afford to seek psychiatric treatment here.
For providing false information to a public servant and causing the public servant to use lawful power to injure or annoy another person, Zhang could have been jailed for up to two years or fined, or both.