SINGAPORE: A cab driver who would send female chat application users sexual questions while waiting in the taxi queue was fined S$8,000 on Tuesday (Oct 5) for sending lewd messages to an 11-year-old girl.
Fadhillah Kassim, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual communications with a minor, with no attempt or intention of meeting the victim.
The court heard that Fadhillah downloaded a chat application in February or March last year to talk to female users while waiting for passengers.
He would first make small talk, before asking sexually related questions to make the conversations "interesting".
According to him, some of the users would say they were not interested, but others would continue with the conversation.
Fadhillah did not reveal his actual age to them, claiming that they would try to "act young" by under-declaring their age to get older male users to talk to them.
In mid-July last year, the 11-year-old victim was watching YouTube when an advertisement for the chat app appeared.
She downloaded it out of curiosity, the prosecutor said, and became acquainted with Fadhillah on the app a few weeks later.
Fadhillah later admitted to investigators that he began asking the victim sexually related questions when the conversation started to become "boring".
Screenshots of their chat showed Fadhillah asking the victim: "Now the truth. How old are you actually, darling?"
VICTIM TOLD HIM SHE WAS 15
The victim replied that she was 15, to which Fadhillah replied "that is sweet" and that he "loves" it.
He asked her to give him a chance "to take care of you". He said he would perform sexual acts inside a car "every time we meet" and explicitly described what he would do to her in return for S$100.
He also asked the victim if she was "still a virgin".
On Aug 2, 2020, the victim's elder sister saw that an "old man" was texting her sister and her father eventually caught wind of what was happening.
The victim's family took a screenshot of the conversation, deleted the app and went to the police.
When Fadhillah saw that the victim was not responding, he deleted his conversation with her on the app. Police later tracked him down.
He admitted to his offence, but claimed he did not have a genuine desire to meet the victim for any commercial sexual services.
The prosecutor called for a high fine, saying this specific offence was introduced as a legal response available "where an offender sexually communicates with a victim, with no intention of meeting or attempting to meet the victim".
The age difference was wide, he said, but no violence or coercion was used.
Fadhillah, who was unrepresented, said he felt very, very sorry, and that he would never do this again "upon my mother's grave".
After hearing of his S$8,000 fine, he said he did not earn much as a taxi driver, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that he would struggle to pay the fine.
The judge told him the decision was already passed. In response, he said that he and his wife could come up with the money.