- POSTED: 11 Sep 2013 22:56
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A district court on Wednesday sentenced three Singaporeans to 11 weeks' jail each for having paid sex with a minor -- they are part of a group of 19 men who were charged last week for paid sex with the girl.
SINGAPORE: A district court on Wednesday sentenced three Singaporeans to 11 weeks' jail each for having paid sex with a minor.
51-year-old cleaner Low Kia How, 57-year-old social worker Ng Chak Song, and 42-year-old logistics supervisor Yeo Choon Seng admitted to their offences involving the girl, who was 17 years old at the time.
A fourth man, 65-year-old cleaner Koh Sui Kim also pleaded guilty on Wednesday, but will be sentenced next month pending a full medical report.
The court heard that the men were approached by the girl, a Chinese national, in Geylang and that they paid her between S$40 and S$60 for her sexual services, which took place in hotels in the Geylang area.
It also heard that Low, Ng and Yeo did ask the girl for her age, which she gave as above 18 years old, but did not take further steps to verify what she said.
The court was also told for the first time of the circumstances that led to the girl coming to Singapore to work in the sex trade.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stella Tan said that the girl and her family were heavily in debt because of medical bills her father incurred while ill with cancer.
When he died in October 2011, both the girl and her mother had to work to pay off the debt, which they owed to both relatives and loansharks.
At 16, the girl started working in a hair salon, while her mother worked as an odd-job labourer, but the money was barely enough to make ends meet.
The girl was later told of better job opportunities in Macau casinos, and went there in January 2013.
While she was there, she met the sister of her alleged pimp, Tang Huisheng.
He told her that he would bring her to Singapore to work as a prostitute as there was more money to be earned there, and he would be her pimp.
When the girl refused and begged to go home, he locked her up in her room, took her passport, money and mobile phone and even threatened to create trouble for her mother as he knew where her home was.
At one point, she even tried to escape by jumping out of her room on the fifth storey, causing her to injure her back and legs, but was caught by Tang.
Tang later promised to allow her to go home after she worked for two months in Singapore as a prostitute.
They arrived in Singapore in May 2013, and Tang brought her to Geylang, where he liaised with a local pimp.
In meting out the sentences, District Judge Low Wee Ping said the facts of the girl's background were "heartbreaking and horrific", and explained to the men why the legal system in Singapore takes a serious view of such offences.
"These are not private acts by offenders like you. She was here because of international trafficking of minors for the purpose of prostitution. Unless offenders understand that, there will always be a demand for such deplorable international trafficking of minors for prostitution," he added.
Tang, who was charged in June, has indicated that he will claim trial.
The four men who pleaded guilty on Wednesday were part of a group of 19 who were charged last week for having paid sex with the minor -- in the third vice ring to surface since the high-profile online vice ring case involving 51 men broke in 2012.
Four other men were also recently jailed between 11 and 12 weeks for paid sex with the same girl.
If found guilty of obtaining the sexual services of a person under 18 years old, the men could be jailed seven years and fined.