Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bail Refused to Man Who Met Victim Online Dating

by Rania Spooner

A Chinese national charged with raping a woman he met on a dating website had only days earlier been interviewed by police over allegations he'd raped a different online date.

Runbin Hu, 29, was refused bail by Victoria's chief magistrate, Peter Lauritsen, on Wednesday after prosecutors argued he posed too great a risk to the community.

Police allege Mr Hu detained and raped two young woman, just days apart, after meeting them separately on Chinese dating websites.  

He has been charged with one count of rape against a woman who claims he attacked her at his Notting Hill apartment on Monday, but the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that the possibility of further charges was possible in relation to the other woman.

Defence lawyer Chong Yang, said consent would be a major issue  and that while his client agreed about the intercourse,  he maintained that it had been consensual.

Mr Hu has lived in Australia for seven years, first as a student and then working as a chef in aged care facility in Sunbury, without ever running into trouble with the law, his lawyer told the court.

Detective Acting Sergeant Rosemary Eden, of the Box Hill sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, said Mr Hu met one of the women online on last Saturday, March 7, and the pair agreed to go on a date on Monday night.  

Mr Hu picked her up from her house and took her to a bar in Clayton where she had one beer, she said.  But after refusing to take her home, he drove to his apartment, prompting her to send four text messages to a friend expressing concern about what was going to happen.

The woman told police Mr Hu had then carried her into his bedroom where he pinned her arms down and forced himself on her, telling her that she had to be quiet or he "would be rude," Acting Sergeant Eden said. 

He let her leave afterwards and her friends took her to the police station where she made a statement and underwent forensic testing, she said.

Following his arrest on Tuesday, Mr Hu admitted to having intercourse with the woman, "while she was silent and shaking," but told police it was consensual, the court heard.

Eight days earlier he'd been interviewed in relation to the rape allegations made by the other woman, a South Australian-based Chinese woman who had travelled to Melbourne after meeting him online. 

This woman had previously been undecided about pursuing the matter but agreed on Tuesday to make a statement, Acting Sergeant Eden said.

Mr Hu's lawyer said in this case, the woman had been in a relationship with Mr Hu for about two months.

She previously told police Mr Hu sexually assaulted her shortly after picking her up from the airport. She wanted to leave, but he held onto her passport for two days and committed further assaults, the woman alleged.

Mr Hu, who speaks very limited English, shook his head as his lawyer explained that bail had been refused.

He was remanded in custody to face court again on June 5.

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