Britain’s Worst Rapist Was Found Guilty Of 136 Rapes Despite Being A Loving Son & PhD Candidate
The heir to a multi-industry empire in banking & property. A PhD candidate in Human Geography. A dedicated church go-er, pianist & volunteer. A loving eldest sibling. A man so gentle he would rather turn to books for solace.
How did a man who appeared to have everything on the surface, find himself at the heart of Britain’s most shocking serial rape case in recent history?
A netizen in Singapore delved right into this hard question in a poignant Facebook post on Monday (13 Jan), which quickly went viral.
Mr Michael Han was reflecting on the case of 36-year-old Reynhard Sinaga, who was eventually charged for 136 rapes over 2.5 years in Manchester, Britain.
Here’s how the author thinks privilege and upbringing can’t change our base natures as human beings, if we allow our innate desires to consume us.
How did a PhD candidate become Britain’s worst rapist?
Mr Han begins his reflection by sharing how Sinaga’s mother had begged him to return to Indonesia as the new heir to the family’s business.
However, Reynhard Sinaga decided that he wished to be a lecturer, amidst her tearful pleas for him to “be around the family”.
He was later charged for 136 rapes – part of 159 offences – given a life sentence in prison & labelled by the media as “Britain’s Worst Rapist”.
Loving family & affluent upbringing
Han says poignantly that Sinaga’s “wealthy background & loving upbringing” checked all the right boxes in a life that would have been “envied by many”.
That’s probably why Sinaga’s own mother struggled to come to terms with the extent of her son’s crimes in The Straits Times interview.
She described her son as a “gentle boy who loved to bury himself in a book”, a charitable volunteer & devout church go-er who also played the piano.
A gentle scholar with multiple degrees
Sinaga’s Master’s degree in Planning & Sociology was a stepping stone for his PhD in Human Geography at the University of Leeds.
His thesis, according to Mr Han, was regarding the “Sexuality & everyday transnationalism among South Asian gay & bisexual men in Manchester”.
At this point, he rightly observes that one cannot describe a more “well-behaved and well-provided human being” than Sinaga before his conviction.
So how exactly did Sinaga stray from the path paved for him from birth?
Chilling method of sexual assault
Playing the role of the Good Samaritan, Sinaga would invite his victims into his home under the guise of sharing a power outlet, or a place to wait for their friends.
Then, he would drug them with liquid ecstasy and commence his assault while they were knocked out.
All 136 of his victims, over the course of 2.5 years.
Remember the wolf in sheep’s clothing
Mr Han then raises some examples of infamous men in history who have had gentle dispositions.
Hitler, who was “friendly”, “paternal” & hated animal cruelty — he wept when his dog passed away. Pol Pot – Cambodia’s most infamous dictator – was “soft-spoken” and a “kindly teacher of French history”.
However, Mr Han also clarifies that politicians are exposed to a “myriad of complex circumstances” which result in a choice between efficiency & morality.
Are we angels or demons by choice?
Mr Han continues to question if humans are demons of our own making — committing evil deeds thanks to our own conscious choices.
Sometimes we don’t need that much to make evil…attractive or irresistible. Given the right opportunity, an honest man may decide he can get away with a marital indiscretion.
Was Reynhard Sinaga’s case related to mental illness, or was it his decisions that ultimately led to his crimes?
A mother’s tears for her son
Mr Han ties his piece back poignantly to the family tragedy that unfolded in the wake of Sinaga’s crimes.
In his words,
So, I am back to a mother’s tears for her son. It no doubt consoles us to assure ourselves that you cannot be good if you do evil, that Reynhard is basically evil because his actions are evil.
The writer doesn’t label him simply as “evil”, but an individual who will no doubt pay for his crimes.
Mr Han also believes he is a human being who – given the right “opportunity & conditions” – chose to give in to his immoral desires & allow them to “take effective control of him” over time.
Finally, he leaves us with a parting quote which aptly sums up the entire discussion,
Indeed, good upbringing or otherwise, what we choose not to confront would subtly define, and eventually destroy us.
Tough love will go a long way
We think Mr Han’s reflection on human nature, crime & punishment, and the timeless quest for doing “good” in our lives is extremely timely.
The post is no doubt a hard read for many of us in Singapore who have enjoyed relatively carefree upbringings & safe streets at night.
For our children, raising them the right way, feeding them, clothing them as best we can, may not be enough to turn them away from a path they’ve chosen of their own accord.
But instead of denying their wrong-doings, we have to let them face the consequences of their actions as adults even as we cling desperately to the fond memories of their youth.
Featured image adapted from Facebook.