The High Court yesterday upheld the guilty conviction of a Taiwanese man who got close to women by pretending to be a Tibetan lama and raped two women before fleeing to China for a decade, only to have an expired passport land him back in prosecutors’ hands.
The court affirmed a lower court’s conviction of Yang Hao (楊鎬), 47, who had been sentenced to five years in prison after forcing two women to have sex with him in 2004.
Investigators said that Yang took on the dharma titles Tashi Delek and Ngawang Ghersa, as he pretended to be a high-ranking Tibetan lama and traveled across Taiwan, conducting purported Tibetan Buddhist rituals and religious services.
Although Yang was not a real monk, he learned to chant sutra texts and to have religious discussions about them, investigators said, adding that he used such opportunities to become intimate with women.
An investigation found that there were two times in 2004 when Yang took a female worshiper to his hotel room, with the two victims telling police that they tried to push Yang away, but that he forced them to have sex with him.
The two women filed reports with the police, but Yang was able to elude the authorities and in May 2005 fled to China, where he lived for more than a decade.
In 2016, Yang was arrested during a sweep by Chinese police, who found that he had an expired Republic of China passport and deported him to Taiwan.
Taiwanese authorities apprehended him on his return and prosecuted him for sexual assault.
At the trial, Yang admitted to having had sex with the two women, but asked for a reduced sentence because of a purported psychological condition since childhood that kept him from controlling his emotions and behavior.
He was convicted on two counts of forcible rape and handed a five-year prison term by a district court, but he filed to appeal the first ruling.
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