Ex-MOE scholar sentenced to five years' jail

UPDATED (9 July 2012 to report on the jail term)

Former Ministry of Education (MOE) scholar Jonathan Wong Wai Keong has been sentenced to five years' jail on Monday for having sex with a minor, The Straits Times reported on Monday.

Wong, who was convicted for possession of child pornography in Britain in 2010, had faced a total of 10 charges – seven for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, and another three for committing indecent acts. He pleaded guilty to five of 10 charges on 25 June.

Wong had committed the acts after his return from Britain, following his expulsion from school and revocation of his student visa. He returned to Singapore in January 2011 after an eight-month supervision for his child pornography charges, said Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Court documents explained that Wong had committed the acts between February and June last year, with a girl he met from church. Both participated in the choir of a church in the west.

Wong and his victim first started chatting online over Facebook and Skype, and addressed each other as "daddy" and "daughter". In their online conversations, Wong discussed “teaching sex” with his victim.

Between February and March last year after the two started going out, Wong made his first move when he asked the girl if he could touch her breasts while they were on a bus. She stopped him after his hands move towards her groin, reported The New Paper.

Days later, Wong took the girl to a handicapped person's toilet at the Esplanade and asked the girl to follow him into the toilet but she refused.

However, in exchange for accompanying her for a "paranormal activity" on another occasion, the girl eventually agreed to follow him to that toilet to learn about sex, Straits Times reported.

He sexually abused her in that toilet and did it again another time at a staircase landing in Bukit Batok. In mid-June last year, Wong had asked her to sit on him at a staircase landing at Riverside Point and proceeded to have sex with her.

Wong was reported to the police after the girl came clean with her father, who confronted her about her poor grades in school. The girl and her father flew back from Melbourne, Australia, where they had relocated, to lodge a police report last September.

In his court appearance on Wednesday, Wong said he was “really, really terribly sorry” for all those he had hurt and vowed “never to be inside a courtroom again” after serving whatever jail time he needed to, reported ST.

In December 2010, Wong was given a suspended six-month sentence by a British court for downloading child pornography while on his MOE scholarship reading history at the University of York.

His parents reportedly had to sell off their home to repay the S$175,000 in bond fees he owed to the MOE.

A psychiatrist who assessed him on Wednesday said that Wong was a paedophile who had to be kept away from underage females. He is expected to be sentenced this coming Monday.

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