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Singapore

Man sought S$50,000 from married businessman over sex videos with another man, gets jail

Man sought S$50,000 from married businessman over sex videos with another man, gets jail

File photo of Singapore dollars. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Three men plotted to extort money from a married businessman after one of them secretly filmed the victim engaging in sex acts with another man.

Tan Yong Jian, 24, was in charge of threatening the victim with leaking the videos if he did not pay S$60,000, an amount he later adjusted down to S$50,000.

Tan was sentenced on Tuesday (Jul 27) to three years and ten months' jail.

He pleaded guilty to one charge each of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication, possession of drugs and methamphetamine consumption.

Another two charges were considered in sentencing.

His co-accused are 23-year-old Daryn Ho Yong Jian, and the victim's employee, named only as B2 in court documents.

The court heard that B2 secretly installed a closed-circuit television camera on top of a bookshelf in his boss' house in late-2019.

He set the camera to motion notification mode, which would allow an application on his phone to alert him if someone was in the room. He would then be able to view what was happening in his boss' room in real-time and make a recording of it.

B2 left the camera in his boss' home for about three weeks. He viewed and recorded his boss engaging in sexual activity with another man on at least five occasions, and saved the videos on his phone.

On Mar 9, 2020, B2, Tan and Ho were having a gathering at Ho's house when they began talking about B2's boss.

THE PLOT

B2 showed the videos he had taken of his boss to Tan and Ho. They knew that the victim was "a person of means" and decided to use the videos to extort money from him, said the prosecutor.

They decided to split the money, with B2 receiving half of it as he was the one with the videos, and Tan and Ho getting another 25 per cent each.

B2 then sent the videos to his conspirators, but he and Ho later deleted the videos to avoid detection, leaving Tan as the only one possessing the videos.

They planned to get an unregistered SIM card and use Ho's spare phone to send the videos anonymously to the victim, setting up a group chat called Heist on Telegram to discuss the plan further.

Later that same day, the trio met up at Ho's home again and tried to send the victim a message using Ho's spare phone. 

However, they could not access the phone and Tan used his personal phone instead, inserting the unregistered SIM card into his device.

THE TEXTS TO B2'S BOSS

At 7.11pm on Mar 9, 2020, Tan sent the victim three of the videos. He said: "Hi (victim), I have some videos and pictures at my disposal that I think will be of interest to you."

The victim did not reply. After more than two hours, Tan sent him another message: "I guess these videos doesn't interest you as much as I thought it would. Guess I'll just share it?"

The victim did not respond that day, nor the next three days. The trio discussed how to proceed and decided to ask for S$60,000 in cash from the victim.

At 7.14pm on Mar 12, 2020, Tan sent the victim a message: "60k for these videos and pictures to be deleted and not leaked. Let me know your decision."

THE VICTIM FINALLY REPLIES

The victim finally replied at 8.42pm that day, saying: "What you're doing is so wrong, whoever you are."

He added unhappy-face emojis, and said he was prepared to work with the requester but said the amount was too much.

"I am owing banks lots especially during COVID where all my businesses are losing money badly. But if really promise as above, I may need time and can squeeze out maybe S$50k but you have to keep your word and how will I know (it's completely) removed? And now I'm very busy with a meeting for next 2 hours plus so can't reply."

The trio read the reply and agreed to accept the proposed sum of S$50,000. They discussed the delivery of the money and came up with a tentative plan for the victim to take the cash to Bukit Panjang and leave it there for Ho to collect.

At 9.54pm that day, Tan replied: "I understand that because of the virus the economy is indeed affected. Let's say if it's at 50k, I would want the amount in cash tomorrow."

He "gave his word" that the videos would not be circulated and there would not be any more demands.

At 9.24am on Mar 13, 2020, Tan sent the victim reminders to deliver the money that day.

Meanwhile, the victim suspected that the videos had been filmed by one of his personal assistants who had access to his house.

He had already lodged a police report three days before, saying he received an anonymous text message and videos of himself captured by a camera in his room.

The police nabbed the trio on Mar 13, 2020, the day the victim was supposed to hand over the money. They were charged in court the next day and their electronic devices were seized.

RELEASED ON BAIL, BUT TRIED AGAIN

While Tan was out on bail, he tried to extort the victim again with another co-accused person, Mahadevan Edwyn. Tan instructed Edwyn on what to do, asking for S$50,000, but the victim flagged the matter to the police.

Tan was arrested at his house in September, and his urine samples showed that he had consumed methamphetamine. Meth was also found on him, and he admitted to buying 5g of it from a friend for S$100.

Tan was previously convicted of possessing and consuming drugs in October 2015. At that time, he was sentenced to reformative training.

The cases for his co-accused are pending. 

The penalties for criminal intimidation are a jail term of up to two years, a fine, or both. If the offence was committed by anonymous communication, the offender can be liable for a maximum of another two years' jail.

Source: CNA/ll(ac)

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