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The Straits Times
Dec 1, 2021
A man who appealed against his sentence for duping at least 11 women into having sex with him had his jail term more than doubled, from 3½ years to eight years and five months, on Wednesday (Dec 1).
De Beers Wong Tian Jun, 40, had pretended to be an agent for "sugar daddies" and told his victims, who were aged between 18 and 24, that he needed to have sex with them to assess whether he should recommend them to his wealthy clients.
In enhancing the sentence, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said Wong's culpability and the harm he caused fell at the very highest end of the spectrum for cheating.
"The appellant had procured penetrative sex from the victims, which represented one of the most grievous intrusions of bodily autonomy," said the Chief Justice.
"Not only did the appellant act with clear premeditation and subterfuge, his behaviour was simply cruel. He showed no remorse or doubt whatsoever when going about his spree of offending behaviour."
CJ Menon also rejected a psychiatric report that Wong relied on to seek a lighter sentence.
He said the report by Dr Ken Ung Eng Khean was predicated entirely on the narrative Wong had given the psychiatrist, which turned out to be "riven with falsehoods". Dr Ung had also not given any reasoning for his conclusions.
In his judgment, the Chief Justice set out a sentencing framework for cases of cheating for sex by adopting a harm-culpability matrix.
Cases involving a low level of both culpability and harm can be given a fine or up to 4½ months' jail as a starting point, while cases involving a high level of both culpability and harm can face between 27 and 36 months' jail as a starting point.
In Wong's case, CJ Menon imposed between 33 months and 36 months' jail for each charge of cheating.
Three of the sentences for cheating, together with an eight-month jail term for criminal intimidation, were ordered to run consecutively.
Wong had pleaded guilty to seven charges of cheating, two of criminal intimidation and one of making an obscene film.
Over the course of 10 months, he carried out an elaborate scam for free sex.
He created a post on online classifieds website Locanto, asking for escorts to provide sexual services to "sugar daddies" - rich older men who are willing to splurge on younger women in exchange for their company.
At least 11 women responded to his advertisement between April 2015 and January 2016.
Wong told them he had clients who could pay them between $8,000 and $20,000 a month for their services.
He even created fictitious chat conversations between himself and these "clients" to convince his victims. The truth was that he did not have any clients.
After obtaining nude photos of the women or filming his sexual acts with them, Wong threatened them with dissemination if they did not engage in sexual activity with him again.
He appealed against his original sentence imposed in April, contending that the district judge had failed to give sufficient mitigating weight to his psychiatric condition and placed undue weight on aggravating factors.
In his judgment, the Chief Justice also said he was of the view that an offence of rape could arguably have been made out on the facts of the current case.
He said the offence of cheating was broad enough to capture the acts in the current case.
"However, I also observe that the offence of cheating simpliciter did not appear to fully reflect the grievous bodily intrusion experienced by the victims on the present facts," he said.
Wong's request to defer the start of his sentence to Jan 10 next year was granted.