SINGAPORE: For about two-and-a-half years, a man repeatedly sexually abused his neighbour's two children in exchange for money and cigarettes.
His crimes were uncovered only when one of the children lodged a police report that her father had raped her, prompting investigations into these other offences.
The 64-year-old man, who cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the identities of the victims, pleaded guilty on Monday (Jul 26) to four counts of sexual penetration of a minor under 14.
Another 11 similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that the offender worked as a dishwasher and stayed alone in a Housing Board flat at the time of the offences.
The victims were 13 at the time of the offences and lived in the same block as the accused. The boy and his sister got to know the accused through their father.
Sometimes, the offender would meet the victims' parents to drink and ask them for cigarettes.
The boy occasionally ran into the offender at the coffee shop near their home and began asking him for cigarettes.
Eventually, the man began inviting the boy to his flat to chat. The boy went to his home twice for cigarettes.
Sometime before June 2016, the boy visited the man's flat for the third time. The man played pornography on his laptop for the child to watch.
The boy asked for cigarettes, and they smoked together while watching the pornography, which showed a man performing a sex act on another man.
The accused asked the boy if he could do the same for him, and the boy complied. The victim felt disgusted afterwards, but took S$20 and a few cigarettes from the offender before leaving.
After this incident, the man would invite the boy back to his flat but was rejected at first. In June or July 2016, the boy wanted cigarettes and went to the man's flat, as he knew the man would offer him money and cigarettes in exchange for sexual services.
The man played pornography for the boy and asked him to perform a sex act on him. The boy complied, and accepted S$20 and a few cigarettes from the man before leaving.
HE TURNED TO THE BOY'S SISTER
The accused began asking the boy's sister for similar acts. In May 2017, the girl was with a friend at a void deck when she saw the offender.
She remembered her brother telling her that the offender had given him cigarettes. She approached the offender and asked for some, but he replied that he did not have any on him, asking her to go to his flat later.
The girl went up subsequently, with her friend waiting near the staircase. She collected a cigarette from the offender, who told her not to bring a friend if she wanted cigarettes.
A few days later, the girl went to the offender's flat alone, wanting cigarettes. He passed her one and they smoked together before he asked her to remove her shirt.
The girl felt shocked and did not want to do so, but the man persisted and told her it would only be for a while, the court heard.
The girl removed her shirt and the man molested her, before asking her to perform a sex act on him. She complied, and the man later gave her S$40, telling her not to tell anyone what happened.
A few days after this, the man ran into the girl at the void deck and invited her to his flat for cigarettes.
They smoked together in the flat and the girl performed a sex act on the man at his request. After this, he told her he did not have money that day, but said he would give her some the next time he saw her.
She left with a few sticks of cigarettes and took S$50 from the man a few days later.
The offences went undetected until Nov 2, 2019, when the girl lodged a police report saying that her father had raped her.
The sexual crimes committed by the offender in this case were uncovered during ensuing investigations, and the investigating officer lodged a police report four days later.
LONG LIST OF PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS
Deputy Public Prosecutors Victoria Ting and Kevin Ho asked for a preventive detention suitability report, pointing out the man's long list of previous convictions.
Preventive detention is a harsher form of punishment that places a recalcitrant offender in jail for seven to 20 years in order to protect the public from the offender.
The prosecutors said the current offences were committed after the man completed a stint of corrective training for similar offences against a 17-year-old boy, whom he lured to a vacant building and paid off after.
The offender has convictions from 1972, for theft when he was a minor, to possession of drugs in 1974, armed robbery in 1984 and aggravated outrage of modesty in 1999.
He continued to reoffend despite being given various punishments including being sent to a juvenile home, reformative training, jail and corrective training, said the prosecutors.
"There are grounds to believe that it would be expedient for the accused to be sentenced to preventive detention for the protection of the public, and a detailed psychiatric assessment of his risk of reoffending would assist in the calibration of the appropriate sentence in this case," they said.
He will return to court at a later date to be sentenced. The case of the girl's alleged rape by her father is pending.