By Beth Main, Sharon Kwok, and James Griffiths.
Justin Lee, 27, who has been convicted of raping numerous women.
Even more shocking details have emerged from Taiwan’s trial of the decade, the island’s very own, considerably more twisted version of the Edison Chen scandal, in which socialite Justin Lee (Lee Tsung-jui, 李宗瑞) has been convicted of over 28 assorted rape and sexual assault charges, and 17 charges of invasion of privacy, after he recorded himself having sex with and raping over 60 women.
Lee, 27, is the son of former Yuanta CEO Lee Yueh-tsang, and was a regular on Taipei’s high roller club scene. Lee would meet girls in bars and luxury nightclubs such as the Barcelona Bar where he reportedly still has an outstanding tab of over 430,000 yuan (NT$2 million, US$67,000). After identifying a target and plying her with drinks, the wealthy socialite who in the past was romantically involved with Taiwanese models Maggie Wu and Terri Kwan, would take her back to a hotel room and spike her drink. Once his victim was unconscious, Lee would rape her, documenting the crime with videos and photographs.
Lee reportedly recorded over 25GB of footage; pornographic films which he would show off to friends, or, when his victim was famous or wealthy, for blackmail and extortion. Lee’s victims included more than 60 celebrities, actresses, models, artists, and a TV host, some of whom were filmed on more than one occasion.
Lee’s collection grew so large that he even developed a film classification system, organising his exploits by performance ratings, victims’ personal attributes, sexual preferences, and, most disgustingly, ratings for ‘tightness’ and ‘wetness’. He filed all the videos on his computer, a collection which, at the time of Lee’s arrest, included 178 photos and 93 videos, amounting to 883 minutes of footage, organised in 48 separate folders. At the height of his perverted crime spree, Lee raped and/or recorded as many as 16 women in a single month.
Things began to unravel for the socialite turned rapist in July 2011, when two sisters filed a complaint against Lee for drug rape and recording sexual activity without consent. Lee denied the claim but a police investigation would swiftly uncover his extensive collection of photographs and films.
A year long investigation into Lee’s activities identified the majority of the victims, 13 of whom went on to press charges for drug rape. All the while Lee maintained that the sex was wholly consensual, despite the fact that several of the videos show the women either unconscious or unresponsive.
The scandal took another turn in August last year, when Next Magazine published a detailed exposé of Lee’s sexual exploits, claiming that Taiwanese celebrities Maggie Wu, Terri Kwan, Bianca Bai, and Ruru Lin all featured in Lees videos. Taipei prosecutors issued a warrant for Lee’s arrest.
After attempting to evade authorities for 23 days, Lee turned himself in on August 23, 2012. In a pre-trial hearing the district attorney successfully argued, based on his previous attempts to evade justice, that Lee was a flight risk and should be denied bail. Chen Mei-lan, a 47 year old insurance agent who sheltered Lee while he was on the run, has been arrested and is awaiting sentencing for harbouring a suspected criminal.
When he was finally brought to trial, Lee admitted “doing wrong” but plead not guilty to 28 counts of various degrees of sexual assault and 17 accounts of privacy violation, at a closed door hearing. Ironically for Lee, the accusation from the two sisters, which kicked off the investigation and led to his world crashing down around him, was thrown out due to lack of evidence.
Of the 32 women filmed having sex with Lee, six appeared to have been drugged, three were forced into the act, nine showed signs of resistance, and 10 women were either delirious or unresponsive.
Prosecutors asked for a combined sentence of 30 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed by law. On October 19, 2012, Lee was found guilty of six charges of aggravated forcible rape, 12 charges of forcible rape, 10 charges of intercourse with an unconscious person, and 17 charges of invasion of privacy. Lee was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Amazingly, Lee’s sentencing did not put the scandal to bed. Online rumours surfaced in December 2012 that Lee had raped his father’s girlfriend, who was alleged to have become pregnant as a result. Liang Tianting was not listed as a victim in the original charges against Lee, and had intended to keep the “unfortunate experience” a secret. However, when Liang discovered that she was pregnant, two months after the rape had taken place, she told Lee Yueh-tsang, Justin’s father, about what had taken place. The elder Lee instructed Liang to cover up his son’s crime, refusing to offer her any kind of protection or compensation.
After rumours continued to circulate that Liang was one of Justin Lee’s victims, she broke her silence on a personal blog (since removed), issuing a statement verifying that the rumours were true. Liang claimed that on the day in question she had gone to Lee’s home to copy some files from his computer. While she waited, Lee handed her a cup of water which he had drugged. Falling unconscious, Liang said she was vaguely aware of Lee molesting her but lacked the strength to resist.
In addition to detailing Lee’s crimes against her, in her statement Liang recalled seeing a website, bookmarked on Lee’s computer, that sells date rape drugs (Lee has admitted to police that drugs found in his home were purchased online). She called for police to shut down the site to protect future victims.