A man is standing trial accused of sexual violence against six women, including allegations he forced one into his car and raped her and that he handcuffed another and dragged her along a street as he drove.
Wei Feng is accused of attacking five sex workers in the St Kilda area between 2013 and 2017, and of raping a sixth woman whom he forced into his car in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Prosecutors allege Mr Feng spoke to the women from his car and in four of the cases negotiated prices for sexual services before they stepped into his vehicle and he sexually assaulted them.
In the two other incidents, prosecutors allege he snapped a handcuff on a woman who was leaning into his open car window and dragged her along Greeves Street in November 2016, and that three months later he forced a woman – who was not a sex worker – into his car in Sunshine, choked her and raped her.
Mr Feng, 49, has pleaded not guilty to 13 charges including five of rape and two of false imprisonment. His lawyer told a County Court jury on Monday the accused man denied the allegations made by the sex workers while any sexual contact with the sixth woman was consensual.
Prosecutor Jo Piggott told the jury five women reported seeing Mr Feng drive a grey Suzuki Swift and four of them recalled seeing a baby seat in the car.
The first woman told police Mr Feng drove a silver sedan when he approached in March 2013, and she alleged he put his hands around her throat and raped her after she got in his car
Ms Piggott told the jury that nine months later a second woman said Mr Feng raped her after producing a large knife that looked like a meat cleaver, and that he threatened to shoot her.
Ms Piggott said Mr Feng put his hands around a third woman’s neck in July 2016 and during a struggle the woman’s bracelet broke and beads flew into the car.
In late 2016, a fourth sex worker suffered injuries that required corrective surgery when she was allegedly thrown from Mr Feng’s car in Greeves Street. Ms Piggott said Mr Feng had put a handcuff on her while she was leaning into his vehicle from outside.
The sex workers reported the incidents to police, Ms Piggott said, however, four chose not to proceed with their complaints and police opted not to pursue an investigation involving the other.
But the women all made statements to police after a sixth woman alleged Mr Feng forced her into his car in Sunshine on February 26, 2017 and threatened, choked and raped her.
Ms Piggott said Mr Feng let the woman out of his car and two passers-by saw her screaming for help.
Defence counsel Paul Kounnas said Mr Feng admitted being with two of the five sex workers but denied sexually assaulting them, and denied it was him who encountered the other three, although he had been in the St Kilda area afterwards.
Mr Kounnas said Mr Feng claimed the sixth woman agreed to get in his car and any sexual activity was consensual.
Ms Piggott said the case against Mr Feng included paperwork connecting him to the grey Suzuki and a silver hire car, evidence that beads from the broken bracelet were in his car and that police had issued notices banning him from contact with sex workers in St Kilda.
The prosecutor said a support agency for sex workers had also issued warnings about a man of Mr Feng’s description in 2016 and 2017 as a potentially dangerous customer.
The first complainant will give evidence on Tuesday.
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