SINGAPORE: Over a period of six months, Vincent Ng Hian Gee extorted S$197,000 in cash and S$51,869 in property from his 45-year-old victim, who kept silent and gave in to all Ng’s demands because he feared for his reputation and his career as a teacher.
Ng was charged in April last year with eight counts of extortion. On Tuesday (Jan 12), he pleaded guilty to one count, with the other seven to be taken into consideration for sentencing.
The 35-year-old Ng had repeatedly threatened to report the homosexual relationship he had with the victim to the victim’s school and the Ministry of Education (MOE) if the man did not meet his demands for cash and luxury items, such as Chanel handbags and Rolex watches.
The pair first met online in August 2013, and the victim invited Ng to his house a month later, where they engaged in sexual acts. But the victim later felt uncomfortable and asked Ng to leave.
Disgruntled, Ng began to harass the victim and demand large amounts of money to “compensate” him. Upon discovering that the victim was a teacher, Ng also began to threaten to expose the victim’s sexual orientation to MOE.
On one occasion in Sep 2013, Ng sent a text message asking the victim to meet up with him. When the victim ignored Ng’s invitation, Ng again threatened to report the pair’s illicit sexual encounter to the school.
Fearing for his reputation and career, the victim met up with Ng, who demanded S$65,000 in cash and that the victim pay for a gift for Ng’s mother. The victim withdrew S$60,000 in cash, which he handed to Ng, and paid for a Chanel handbag worth S$3,900 for Ng’s mother.
He also gave Ng S$10,000 via a fund transfer to his bank account, under Ng’s instructions.
EXTORTION PREYS ON THE SOUL OF THE VICTIM: PROSECUTION
In court on Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Wuan urged the court to impose a sentence of four years and three to four strokes of the cane on Ng. “Extortion is one of the most vicious crimes … as it preys on the soul of the victim”, DPP Wuan told the court.
The DPP also citied aggravating factors such as the length of time over which the extortion offences took place, and the significant amount involved.
Ng was said to have "relentlessly and repeatedly” tormented the victim and threatened to reveal his sexual orientation to MOE. Fearing for his reputation and career, the victim “suffered silently at the hands of (Ng)”, handing over a total of S$248,869 in cash and property over about six months, from September 2013 until March 2014, when the victim finally reported the matter to police.
Ng has made restitution of S$24,000 and returned a Rolex watch, a gold chain and a gold pendant to the victim. He admitted to using the rest of the money to sustain his gambling habit.
Ng’s lawyer James Ow Yong told the court that Ng, who is married, takes care of his elderly and ill parents. His mother was recently admitted to hospital and his father suffers from glaucoma.
Mr Ow Yong also asked the court to pass sentence on Ng after Chinese New Year, to allow him to take care of family affairs and spend time with his mother “before the inevitable”.
The offence of extortion carries a mandatory jail term of between two to seven years, with caning. Ng is expected to be sentenced on Feb 15.