SINGAPORE: A 33-year-old assistant engineer who had sex with a 15-year-old girl and introduced her to bondage, sadism and masochism (BDSM) practices was on Monday (Jul 9) sentenced to five years' jail.
Lim Chee Keong first got to know the girl, who was then in Secondary 3, in November 2016 on a website where men seek women for paid sex.
The teenager, who cannot be named due to a gag order, said on her profile that she was looking for “someone who could afford to pay for my tuition fees”.
Lim saw her profile and felt that she looked young, the court heard. He asked about her age and the teenager told him she was 15.
Lim answered that "it was fine" and told her to always delete their message correspondences so that no one would find out that they were having sex.
The pair exchanged numbers and began chatting on WeChat and WhatsApp. Lim said he was into BDSM and expected the girl to comply.
The teenager felt uncomfortable but agreed after Lim said he would pay her an allowance of S$4,000 to S$5,000 per month for a year.
HE GAVE HER ALCOHOL, LIQUID TO SNIFF TO MAKE HER "HIGH"
They met at about 2am on Dec 31, 2016, at a staircase landing near his home where they had sex.
Lim also asked the victim to sniff a brown bottle containing liquid in order to get her "high".
They met again on Jan 21 last year at about 9pm at a hotel. The girl lied to her parents that she would be studying at her friend's place and went to meet Lim.
He told her he wanted to try BDSM practices with her, and made her drink glasses of soda mixed with alcohol to ease her anxiety.
They then had sex that night and the day after. The girl asked Lim to use a condom during the three times they had sex, but he did not.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling on Monday asked for a sentence of at least five years' jail and a S$20,000 fine, saying that there was premeditation and planning.
Lim had used a prepaid SIM card to contact the teenager, and did not intend to follow through on his promise of a monthly allowance. Instead, he planned to abscond after having sex with the girl, the court heard.
He also asked her to delete the messages and made her endure "multiple painful and humiliating BDSM practices" as well as inhale harmful substances.
In response, defence lawyer Gino Hardial Singh said that Lim was not in a position of trust in relation to the victim.
He said that there was no evidence of physical or intellectual disability in the victim, and pointed out that she snuck out of her house to meet the accused the first time and also lied to her parents.
He added that the girl was "less than a month shy of 16 the first time they met".
VICTIMS BELOW 16 LACK SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL MATURITY: PROSECUTOR
In response, the prosecutor said that there is a need to protect minors from sexual predators like the accused, and consent should not be a mitigating factor.
She added that the victim was below 16, and that victims of that age lack sexual and emotional maturity to give informed consent.
She said that the impact on the victim was severe enough for the girl's teacher to notice a change in her behaviour, which was how the crime was exposed.
The teacher advised the girl to go for counselling, and the girl subsequently told the counsellor that she had unprotected sex with an adult man.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong sentenced Lim to five years' jail for three charges of sexual penetration of a minor and one charge of possessing 197 obscene films.
"In my view, the victim in this case has been psychologically impaired by the depraved behaviour," he said.
For sexual penetration of a minor under 16, Lim could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
For possessing obscene films, Lim could have been fined at least S$500 per obscene film up to a total of S$20,000 and jailed for up to six months.
Lim is appealing against his sentence.