SINGAPORE: A German businessman was sentenced to five-and-a-half years' jail on Friday (Sep 6) for promoting commercial sex with minors in the Philippines.
Michael Frank Hartung, 48, had marketed sex tours to undercover police officers in Singapore and had been found guilty in July of two charges of distributing information to promote commercial sex with minors.
He is out on bail pending his appeal against conviction and sentence.
Hartung, a former senior executive at Deutsche Bank, had met with two sets of undercover police officers - first at a Starbucks cafe at Raffles City Shopping Centre in September 2015, then at XI&O pub in Mackenzie Road in April 2016.
He had given the four men - who went by aliases Michael, Jackson, Paul and Frank - information about commercial sex with minors in the Philippines, saying he had access to contacts there who would facilitate arrangements for virgin girls aged between 14 and 16.
He also gave the men advice on the typical challenges faced when taking young girls to city hotels for sex, and suggested solutions.
The prosecution had pushed for at least 70 months' jail, saying that he image Hartung portrayed was "not of a rank amateur but of a connoisseur".
"For budding paedophiles who knew little to nothing about the actual procurement of minors, the accused projected confidence, familiarity and experience," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim.
Defence lawyer Mohamed Niroze Idroos had argued that his client had been “incited” and “instigated” into providing information about commercial sex with minors under 18 in the Philippines.
The prosecution said the sentence imposed by the court would punish Hartung and also serve as "an important signal to the rest of the society ... that Singapore is not a launch pad for paedophiles intending to visit neighbouring countries for commercial sex with minors".
"We must stamp out attempts to violate the innocence of these young children and it begins with meting out appropriate punishments to those who even dare try," he said.