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The Straits Times
Sept 8, 2023
A routine check by police officers patrolling near Changi Beach exposed a serial sexual predator, after his phone was found to contain child pornography and a text message to an underage boy offering cash for oral sex.
On Friday, the 35-year-old part-time religious teacher, who is HIV-positive, admitted that he committed various sexual offences against four boys, including one he met on dating app Grindr when the boy was 11 years old.
He pleaded guilty in the High Court to three charges of sexual penetration of a minor relating to three of the boys. Another 18 charges, including one involving a fourth boy, were taken into consideration.
The man, who was diagnosed with paedophilic disorder after his arrest, cannot be named under a gag order to protect the identities of the victims.
Prosecutors sought 24 years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane for the man, arguing that he was sexually irresponsible and was inconsistent with the use of condoms while carrying out sex acts with the victims.
The man’s lawyer asked for 16 years’ to 18 years’ jail and no caning, saying that his client was remorseful and had taken the boys to the mosque to pray for forgiveness after the acts.
The case was adjourned for further sentencing arguments. No hearing date was fixed.
The man started providing religious and Arabic language home tuition in 2013 after he returned from his studies in Egypt. He also worked part-time as a food delivery rider.
He tested positive for HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, in February 2019, following unprotected sex with an adult male partner.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhou Yang told the court that the man got to know a primary school boy, identified as V1, on Grindr in 2014.
V1 had pretended to be a teenager, but the man was aware that the boy was below 14 at the time, said the prosecutor. The man told the boy he was a part-time religious teacher, and they chatted about sex.
They eventually met in person at a toilet cubicle in Hougang Mall, where the man performed oral sex on the boy.
From 2015 to 2018, the two remained in contact and met up for mutual sex acts. In July 2019, V1 tested positive for HIV, although it cannot be concluded that the accused had transmitted the virus to him.
In 2017, the man got to know a 12-year-old boy, identified as V2. They played video games and went on e-scooter rides together, and the man often bought V2 and his friends food and cigarettes. He also tutored V2 in maths.
On three occasions in 2018, when V2 was 13, he allowed the man to perform penetrative sex acts on him, in exchange for $30 worth of video game credits each time.
The third victim, V3, was in primary school in 2016 when he started chatting with the man, who had followed the boy on Instagram.
After the two of them met in person, the boy treated the man as an older brother. The man often bought V3 presents, including a second-hand video game console.
After a while, the man began touching the boy. The prosecutor told the court that the boy did not like it and felt it was “weird” but he relented because the man persisted.
Between 2017 and 2018, the man engaged in penetrative sex acts with the boy, who was then 14 to 15 years old.
In the time they knew each other, the man paid for food and cigarettes when he went out with V3 and his friends, and also lent money to the boy’s family members when they needed it.
In June 2019, after he was aware that he was HIV-positive, he did not tell V3 about this before they engaged in sexual activities.
Later that month, the man met V2 and two other underage boys near Changi Village, and bought vodka to share with them.
At about 10pm, patrolling police officers conducted a spot check on the group, and arrested the man.