‘Cold, calculated, appalling’: Immigration agent rapist jailed for 22 years

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One of the state’s most prolific sex offenders will spend at least 22 years behind bars after drugging, sexually assaulting and filming at least seven women while acting as an immigration agent in Melbourne’s CBD.

Frank Hu, 38, faced the County Court of Victoria on Friday where he was sentenced for crimes including 69 instances of rape committed on 48 occasions over three years.

Court sketch of Frank Hu.Credit: Nine

The court heard Hu, also known as Xiadong Hu, used hot chocolate, coffee and juice to secretly sedate his victims – some dozens of times over extended periods – before filming himself as he abused them.

Some of his victims ended up in hospital, including one who spent time in intensive care.

Judge Trevor Wraight described Hu’s crimes as terrifying, occurring largely at his offices on Little Collins Street, where the married father of two operated a business that employed women on student visas to perform roles including translation.

Exhibits released by the County Court of Victoria.

“Your conduct was cold, calculated and repetitive. You meticulously documented the incidents by photographing the respective victims … over a number of years,” Wraight said.

“Your offending is appalling and must be condemned in the strongest term.

“The community must be protected from the risk you pose.”

Police began investigating Hu in 2018 after Australian Border Force officers found suspicious material on his mobile phone at Melbourne Airport.

Hu was eventually charged after a string of women began showing up at police stations and hospitals fearing they had been drugged.

One victim said she attended Hu’s offices to apply for a job and was offered a cup of hot chocolate in 2018. She later woke in hospital, unaware of what had occurred.

Another told police she visited the same business in 2019 and was filling out employment paperwork when she sipped a bitter-tasting drink. Waking up in hospital, the woman was so badly injured she spent time on a ventilator and suffered a cardiac arrest. A blood test revealed sedatives and tranquillisers.

Exhibits released by the County Court of Victoria.

The victims told police on occasions Hu would accompany them to hospital.

Following raids on his offices, police seized a number of electronic devices containing photos and videos that later connected Hu to close to 70 rapes and 18 sexual assaults.

One victim alone had more than 1000 images and 190 videos taken of her without her knowledge. Wraight said she later learned she’d been attacked numerous times over extended periods, including 17 times over 15 days, 13 occasions across five different days, and 13 times over eight days.

Some of those recordings later surfaced on an online fetish website for people interested in sex with “sleeping” women.

Hu was arrested in August 2019 and charged soon after. He later pleaded guilty to eight counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault, which relate to multiple instances of each crime. He also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of intentionally causing injury and one of recklessly causing serious injury relating to rendering his victims unconscious.

Victoria Police and Australian Border Force officers raid Frank Hu’s Melbourne office in 2019.

His legal team said a psychiatrist believed Hu has a rare form of sexual fetishism known as somnophilia.

During a police interview, Hu admitted to having sex with and filming one of the victims and said: “When she fall asleep, it doesn’t mean stop”.

“You deliberately took advantage of women who were known to you … or in a trusted position as their employer,” the judge said.

“You surreptitiously administered dangerous drugs to your victims in order to incapacitate them, rendering them unconscious and vulnerable.

An undated photo of Frank Hu as a younger man.

“Your conduct can only be described as terrifying and extremely serious.”

Wraight said Hu was born and raised in central China to a military father and a mother who worked as a police officer.

Hu’s father wanted Hu to join the military, but the court heard he moved to Australia after being rejected from the army after failing the physical testing.

Inside the rapist’s den: Photos of a room in one of the CBD offices. Image released by the court.

Hu, a married father with no prior criminal history, faced the County Court of Victoria remotely from prison in Ararat and listened to the hearing with the assistance of an interpreter.

Wraight sentenced Hu to 29 years’ jail with a non-parole period of 22 years. If not for his guilty plea, Wraight said he would have sentenced Hu to 40 years with a non-parole period of 30 years.

Hu will remain a registered sex offender for life.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

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