The accused, Huang Qiang, 35, was calm when the charge was read to him before Judge Wan Mohd Norisham Wan Yaakob by a court translator. Pic by NSTP/ MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

KUALA LUMPUR: National aquatics coach has pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here today to raping a 20-year-old national diving athlete two weeks ago.

The accused, Huang Qiang, 35, was calm when the charge was read to him before Judge Wan Mohd Norisham Wan Yaakob by a court translator.

Huang, clad in a red shirt and yellow shorts, arrived about 9am and covered his face as he was ushered into the courtroom by several policemen.

A man and a woman believed to be Huang’s wife and father-in-law also escorted him into the courtroom.

The father of two was charged with raping the victim at a dry gym in Bukit Jalil Sports Complex, Sri Petaling at about 5.30pm on Sept 26.

The offence falls under Section 376(1) of the Penal Code which carries a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment and canning upon conviction.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hafizza Sauni then asked that no bail be offered to the accused as the offence is a non-bailable one.

“However, if the court want to impose bail, it should not be less than RM50,000 with two sureties. The accused must also report himself twice a month and surrendered his passport to the court,” she said.

Counsel Mohd Hisham Md. Nan who represented the accused pleaded for a minimum bail.

“My client is a sole breadwinner to his family still living in China,” he said.

The court later set bail at RM50,000 with two sureties and ordered the accused to report himself at the nearby police station twice a month.

The court also fixed Nov 6 for mention.

Meanwhile, counsel Cheow Wee, who conducted a watching brief to the victim during the proceeding had applied for his client’s identity be kept private.

“My client has already been traumatised by the incident and now she wants to focus on her training for the Olympics,” he said.

When met outside the court, Cheow said his client was in the process of recovering and had received tremendous moral supports from her fellow athletes and family members.

“All parties including the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) also playing their role to ease her (the victim) burden due to the incident,” he said.

It is learnt that the victim is a backup diver for the Malaysian team in the Sea Games.

The coach, originally from China, had been working in the country for over five years. He was said to be married to a Malaysian and has permanent resident status since 2011.

This is the first major allegation of sexual abuse among the Malaysian sporting fraternity in more than two decades.

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