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Singapore Court Sentences Bar Owner to 13 Years for Assaulting Minor

Singapore: Raj Kumar Bala, a 42-year-old Indian-origin bar owner, was sentenced to 13 years and four weeks in prison for assaulting a 17-year-old girl who had run away from a shelter. The sentencing, which took place on Monday, also included an order for Bala to receive nine strokes of the cane, marking a significant conclusion to a disturbing case of exploitation.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the incident occurred in the Little India district of Singapore at Bala’s establishment, Don Bar and Bistro. The court heard how the victim, having escaped from the Singapore Girls’ Home in February 2020, was manipulated into dependency and ultimately assaulted by Bala. She learned of the job through another runaway who was also a victim of Bala’s assaults. This second victim’s charges are currently on hold.

The case came to light when the initial victim returned to the shelter and disclosed the assaults, leading to Bala’s arrest. In court, the victim’s lawyer emphasized the considerable personal harm inflicted upon her, noting that she blamed herself due to her intoxicated state at the time of the assault. Bala exploited the fact that the victim was evading police and reliant on him for income and shelter, further complicating her vulnerable situation.