SINGAPORE: Food and beverage company The Prive Group has parted ways with its chief executive officer, a day after expressing support for him following his conviction in court for hurting a 13-year-old boy.
In a statement on Facebook on Friday morning (Oct 22), the group wrote that with immediate effect, Jean-Luc Kha Vu Han will no longer be its CEO.
"We strongly condemn his actions and all acts of violence and would like to reassure the public that his personal actions do not in any way reflect our core values," said the group's post.
"We are glad that he is currently seeking the necessary treatments for his mental health and believe that the Singapore justice system will deal out the necessary punishment."
Vu Han, 44, pleaded guilty a day earlier to a charge each of voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally causing alarm to a 13-year-old boy at Parklane Shopping Mall in 2019.
Vu Han was intoxicated when he entered a lift with the boy and his 12-year-old brother, before asking him lewd questions and punching him in the head.
When the lift got to the ground floor, Vu Han stopped the doors from closing and slapped the boy's face.
After Vu Han's conviction, The Prive Group said in a statement to the media that Vu Han "has our full and unwavering support". It confirmed that Vu Han was still CEO and was "helping us stay afloat amidst the ongoing COVID restrictions".
The group received backlash on its online platforms, with some calling for a boycott.
On Friday, The Prive Group apologised if any of its previous statements had been "miscontrued as condoning his actions as we do not support violence in any way".
"We sincerely apologise," the group said.
"We also encourage those who suspect they might have mental health issues to seek help early," it said. "Thank you for your understanding and we hope that we can become a better company through this."
Vu Han's lawyer had told the court that he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and later bipolar disorder, for which he is seeking treatment. On this basis, she asked for a mandatory treatment order suitability report, but the prosecutor objected, saying there was no indication of how the mental conditions contributed to the offence.
The prosecutor is seeking eight weeks' jail and a fine, and sentencing is set for December.