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The Straits Times
Nov 29, 2021
Three men hatched a plan to extort $60,000 from a married businessman after he was secretly recorded having sex with another man.
The amount was later reduced to $50,000 but police arrested the trio, including the businessman's personal assistant, before any money could change hands.
They were then released on bail.
Despite this, one of them, Tan Yong Jian was so intent on getting cash from the 53-year-old businessman that he separately roped in a fourth man, Mahadevan Edwyn, to try the extortion scheme again.
Tan, then 24, also promised Mahadevan a 50-50 split of the amount.
On Monday (Nov 29), Mahadevan, now 29, was sentenced to 18 months' jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of criminal intimidation.
The Singaporean committed the offence while he was under a remission order, just months after he was released from prison in late 2019 over crimes not stated in court documents.
As part of the order, he was supposed to keep out of trouble from Oct 9, 2019 to Aug 28 last year. For breaching it, he now has to spend an additional 59 days behind bars.
The three men - Tan, as well as Daryn Ho Yong Jian and the businessman's former personal assistant, both 24 - were dealt with in court earlier.
The businessman and his former personal assistant cannot be named due to a gag order.
In late 2019, the personal assistant secretly installed a camera in the businessman's home.
He set the device to motion notification mode so he could be alerted through an application on his mobile phone when someone was in the room.
He was able to view the goings-on in real time and make recordings. He left the camera in the businessman's house for about three weeks.
During that time, he managed to record his boss having sex with another man on at least five occasions.
The personal assistant, Tan and Ho then hatched a plan to extort money from the businessman, who alerted the police.
Officers arrested the trio on March 13 last year following an investigation and they were later released on bail.
Despite this, Tan persisted in the extortion attempt and on April 2 last year, roped in Mahadevan, who was then working as a sales manager for a debt recovery firm.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhou Yang said: "The accused agreed to Yong Jian's plan, as his income was affected by the economic downturn and he needed money to renovate his new... flat.
"In a call later that day, Yong Jian provided the accused with further details about the videos as well as the victim's background... such that Yong Jian would not be implicated and the accused's identity remained anonymous."
Tan also gave Mahadevan the businessman's mobile phone number, the court heard.
At around 4.20pm on April 3 last year, Mahadevan sent the businessman text messages, asking him to hand over $50,000 in cash within 24 hours.
Mahadevan also told the older man that videos of him "committing gay acts" would be uploaded onto Facebook and other forums if he failed to do so.
The DPP added: "Sometime around 7.41 pm, the accused messaged the victim 'the clock is ticking', as the victim did not reply to his earlier messages.
"Later at around 9.13pm, the accused became irritated at the victim's non-response. The accused messaged the victim "(You) don't know how to reply? Don't make me irritated'."
The businessman finally replied at around midnight and asked for the identity of Mahadevan, who told him: "Save your words for someone who cares, because I don't. I only want money or ruining people's lives, it's your choice."
The businessman initially replied that he did not have the money. But at around 3pm on April 4 last year, he sent Mahadevan another message stating that he needed about a week to raise the $50,000.
Mahadevan felt suspicious about this development and later got rid of the mobile phone as well as the SIM card he had used to contact the businessman.
The court heard that police then arrested the younger man at around 9pm that day.