HE was suave and handsome and could mesmerise almost any woman he pursued. But there was a dark side to this six-footer.
Beneath his charming personality was a lustful monster with a perverse appetite for forceful sex.
Dubbed the country’s most notorious serial rapist, Lee Chow Meng (pix) was believed to be behind the rape of at least 18 women between 1996 and 1997.
He is also said to have murdered five of his victims.
Lee’s violent spree against women began soon after his long-time girlfriend ended their relationship after years of tolerating his philandering ways.
Unable to accept losing her, the lovelorn man from Mentakab in Pahang began venting his vengeance on other women.
He searched for his victims from advertisements they placed in newspapers and magazines offering services such as insurance policies, tuition, book-keeping and real estate sales.
After contacting them using various aliases, Lee arranged for meetings with them.
Over a drink, he wooed them with his good looks and charm.
He was so good at it that even happily married women were smitten.
After gaining their trust, he persuaded them to go out with him, and then spiked their drinks before making his wicked moves when they became semi-conscious.
He sexually assaulted his victims at various locations, including hotel rooms, in their cars and secluded areas in different states.
It is said that Lee was mainly turned on by women who resembled his estranged girlfriend.
He also extorted cash from his victims, threatening to expose nude photos of them.
As rape cases linked to him continued to rise, police began a massive hunt for Lee, offering a reward of RM50,000 for information leading to his capture.
Tens of thousand of posters of the man were also distributed to the public.
For over a year, he managed to evade the authorities before police cracked the case.
With the help of a victim whom Lee had tried to extort cash from, police launched a sting operation and he was arrested in Ipoh on Aug 28, 1997.
After weeks of spending time in remand, investigators learnt that the rapist cum killer had covered his tracks well and there was only a single case they could use to press charges against him due to the lack of evidence in the others.
Lee was subsequently charged with the murder of 33-year-old beautician Lim Phaik Lian at the Taiping magistrate’s court.
However, this sole case had a faint chance of seeing justice served.
In February 1999, Lee pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
Two years later in March 2001, natural justice was served when he suffered health complications from an HIV infection and died at the Taiping Hospital after almost two weeks of being warded for treatment.
Days prior to his death, Lee had told prison wardens to place his possessions, including two books on sex, in his coffin before cremating his body and scattering his ashes at sea.
It is learnt that his request was fulfilled by the wardens.
Read this story on our iPaper:
Serial rapist’s reign of terror