Grandson of Shaw cinema mogul charged for sex with underaged callgirl

UPDATED (Thursday 19 April, 4:35pm -- adding detail on those charged)

Prominent local newsmaker Howard Shaw was among four additional men that were charged in court on Wednesday for having paid sex with an underaged prostitute.

Aside from Shaw, former UBS top banker and Swiss national Juerg Buergin, ex- teacher Chua Ren Cheng and 49-year-old Edward Whistler Goh were also charged.

Prominent in social circles and a well-known advocate of the green movement, Howard is the grandson of Runme Shaw, co-founder of cinema operator Shaw Organisation.

According to a report last year, the former executive director of the Singapore Environment Council has two daughters aged 9 and 11. He graduated in 1995 from Oxford Brookes University in England.

The 41-year-old is among the biggest names tagged in a case that saw public servants, a former school principal and a businessman among the 44 men charged with the same offence in court on Monday.

Based on the charge sheet, Shaw allegedly paid $500 for sex with a girl who is under 18 on 30 October 2010 at 3:22pm at Hotel 81 Bencoolen.

He appeared in court with his wife, Jessie Xue, whom he married in November last year. The former model was taking part in a Miss Earth pageant and he was helping to judge and train the contestants when they met six years ago.

Friends of Shaw expressed surprise over the news of the charge. One friend who asked not to be named told Yahoo! Singapore she was shocked when she heard about it, but then added: "To be fair, it could have been anyone else, even in the high places."

His current employer, Halcyon Agri Corporation, where he is the senior vice president of corporate social responsibility, declined comment when contacted.

On its website, Halcyon describes itself as an integrated producer and merchandiser of a special grade of rubber, most widely used for making vehicle tyres.

Howard Shaw is not the only high-profile executive to be charged on Wednesday.


40-year-old Buergin, a Swiss national, who is former head of operations at UBS Investment Bank in Singapore, allegedly paid $600 and $650 for sex with the girl in Shangri-La Hotel and Mandarin Oriental Hotel on September 2010 and January 2011, respectively.

Of the four charged on Wednesday, Chua was the only one intending to plead guilty to the charges.


Chua, 31, taught both at River Valley High School and Jurong Junior College, and was a government teaching scholar, according to the Ministry of Education in recent media reports. He also reportedly resigned from the teaching service on 1 February.

Further, Chua was also a former grassroots leader who chaired the youth executive committee of Taman Jurong Community Club, according to Today. He is being charged for paying the girl $750 for sex at a budget hotel on 22 December 2010.


The fourth man charged on Wednesday was 49-year-old Edward Whistler Goh Ngian Meng, who according to the daily runs a business consultancy and management training firm. He paid a total of $950 for two sessions with the callgirl in September and October 2010.

Of the four, Chua is the only one who said he plans to plead guilty, reported the paper. He also has been given a week to decide if he intends to engage a lawyer.

A former colleague of Chua's, who declined to be named, told Yahoo! Singapore that the news took him by surprise.

He said Chua had been a dedicated teacher during their time teaching at Jurong Junior College and that he was very professional in his conduct throughout. He said Chua dressed well and always looked presentable, so the fact he had engaged the services of a prostitute came as a shock, not only to him but their former ex-colleagues too.

A total of 48 men have now been charged with having paid sex with the underaged prostitute, who so far has not been named. They engaged her services, which were advertised on a website, between September 2010 and February last year.

Of the 44 charged before Wednesday, all but the ex-principal claimed trial. Those challenging the charges are expected to say they were not aware the girl was a minor, according to ST.

Lee Lip Hong, 39, the former principal of Pei Chun Public School, admitted to two charges of having paid $500 on each of two occasions for sex with the girl at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on Sept 26 and Dec 24, 2010, reported the same paper.

Also charged for allegedly paying $500 for sex with the underage girl on each of four occasion is 45-year-old businessman Foo Kim Meng.

Chia Kok Peng, 38, former senior legal counsel of the National Environmental Agency, and nine public servants are also among those charged.

The website offering the girl's services was allegedly run by entrepreneur Tang Boon Thiew.

In February, up to 80 people were involved in a major police probe into an online prostitution ring, including an ex-principal and top civil servants.

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