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The Straits Times
Nov 15, 2022
A man offered $60 to a 13-year-old girl to perform a sexual act on him after she told him she needed money.
Tong Wei Xiang also had sexual encounters with three other underage girls.
Tong, 20, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three charges of sexual penetration of a minor below 16 years old, involving three girls aged 13 to 15, and one count of sexual communication with a minor below 16 years old.
The names of the victims cannot be revealed due to a gag order protecting their identities.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Samuel Chew said that in June 2021, Tong met the 13-year-old girl via an online social networking app called Wink.
They chatted online, and the girl told Tong in July 2021 that she needed money. He then suggested a meet-up to have oral sex in exchange for $60 and the girl agreed.
That same month, the girl met Tong at his home, but was initially uncomfortable with having sex with him due to the presence of religious ornaments. After the accused persuaded her, the girl relented and performed oral sex on him.
Separately, in July 2020, Tong had sex with a 15-year-old girl he met online despite knowing her age. He also asked another girl, 13, whom he met on Wink, to perform oral sex on him at a staircase in June 2021.
Some time in 2021, Tong met a fourth victim on WhatsApp after they were added into a group chat. After exchanging private messages about their lives, Tong asked the girl, who was 13 years old at the time, for photos of her private parts for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.
She agreed and the duo exchanged nude photos of themselves over WhatsApp. The accused admitted to knowing at the time of the incident that the girl was under the age of 14 years, said DPP Chew.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Riko Isaac said this was a case of a young man who was curious about sex and allowed his curiosity to get the better of him.
“He has had the time to reflect on his actions and now, on hindsight, does feel very remorseful for what he’s done and acknowledges the seriousness of his offences,” added Mr Isaac.
District Judge Kessler Soh called for probation and reformative training reports.
Reformative training is a rehabilitative sentencing option for young offenders aged under 21 who are found to be unsuitable for probation.
Tong has been remanded and will return to court for sentencing on Jan 17.