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German businessman who promoted overseas child sex tours gets more jail time for child porn

German businessman who promoted overseas child sex tours gets more jail time for child porn

German national Michael Frank Hartung leaving the State Courts on Feb 15, 2017. (Photo: Robin Choo/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A German businessman convicted of promoting commercial sex with minors was given 12 more weeks of jail time on Wednesday (Jul 15) for possessing obscene films.

A police raid uncovered 245 obscene films in Michael Frank Hartung's home, 10 of which contained child pornography of pre-pubescent girls and boys.

Hartung, a 49-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing obscene films under the Films Act. Another two charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that the police were given information in 2016 that Hartung was involved in the planning of overseas trips for commercial sex with minors.

They raided his home on Aug 30, 2016, and seized items such as several mobile phones, laptops, multiple thumbdrives and a bag with 235 DVDs.

The DVDs were examined by the Board of Films Censors and 225 of them were found to contain obscene films with explicit sex acts. All the films were between an hour and five hours in length, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Ong.

Of the 225 obscene films, seven contained child pornography. They portrayed naked or half-naked boys and girls below the age of 16, engaged in sexual poses and activities with other minors and adults.

The seven films portrayed penetrative acts and close-up obscene images of children being sexually abused.

Some of the girls were estimated to be as young as five, and the majority of the films featured pre-pubescent children.

The film titles included descriptors such as "Small children 10 years", and one of the videos was about four hours and five minutes long.

Two phones, a tablet and a laptop found in Hartung's home were also examined and found to contain 23 films.

Twenty of these contained obscene films, with three featuring child pornography of men sexually abusing pre-pubescent girls.

Some of the girls were as young as four, based on their appearance and the filenames of the films.

FILMS FEATURED "DEEPLY DEPRAVED" ACTS: PROSECUTOR

The prosecutor pushed for at least 15 weeks' jail, noting the depraved nature of the obscene films involving children.

He said it was "necessary to deter like-minded offenders from preying on vulnerable victims, while addressing the public disquiet vis-a-vis adults who exploit minors to satisfy their own selfish lust".

He pointed to the large number of obscene films found, the high degree of sexual exploitation on at least 10 of these films and the "deeply depraved nature of the acts".

"The children in the seven films range from four years old to 16 years old in age, with most of the films portraying pre-pubescent children," said Mr Ong.

"The court must send out an unstinting message to all like-minded offenders or people who currently have child pornography in their possession that such videos are clearly deplorable and offenders who continue to keep child pornography will be severely dealt with," he said.

Hartung had possessed the obscene DVDs since 2006, when he began staying in Singapore, the court heard.

Comparing the case to a previous one, Mr Ong said the children in these films were "clearly sexually abused and exploited into carrying out devious, disgusting acts for the pleasure of like-minded perverts and paedophiles".

For each charge of possessing obscene films, he could have been jailed for up to six months, fined at least S$500 per film up to a total cap of S$20,000, or both.

READ: German businessman gets jail for promoting overseas child sex tours to undercover Singapore police

Hartung was convicted in July last year of two charges for providing information for the facilitation of commercial child sex tourism overseas.

He was sentenced to a jail term of around five-and-a-half years, and will serve the additional 12 weeks' jail for the obscene film offences afterwards.

Hartung intends to appeal his conviction and sentence in relation to promoting commercial sex.

He had met with two sets of undercover police officers in September 2015 and April 2016, where he gave them information about commercial sex with minors in the Philippines.

He said he had access to contacts there who would facilitate arrangements for virgin girls aged between 14 and 16, and gave the men advice on "challenges" faced when taking young girls to city hotels for sex.

He had contested the charges, with his then-lawyer arguing that he had been "incited" and "instigated" into providing the information on commercial sex, but was found guilty and sentenced.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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