An Institute of Technical Education (ITE) student who had commercial sex with a female secondary school student and left without paying her was jailed 10 months on Tuesday (12 December).
Hari Kumar Anpalagan, now 25, had met the girl through Tagged, a social networking platform, sometime between April and May last year. The girl, who cannot be named to protect her identity, had initially posted on Tagged asking for help to buy a new handphone.
Hari, a Singaporean, messaged her to ask what he could get in return for fulfilling her request and she offered sex.
Following a trial in the State Courts, Hari was convicted on 16 November on one count of obtaining commercial sex from a person below 18 years old. The girl had initially turned to Tagged to seek financial help when she first knew Hari. After some negotiation, the girl agreed to provide sexual services to Hari for $70.
The two then met at a HDB void deck in May last year, where the girl informed Hari that she was 16 years old, according to the prosecution. The two later went to a staircase landing between the sixth and seventh floor where they had sex.
They only stopped when a resident, who was not identified, spotted them from an upper floor. The girl told Hari she would wait for him downstairs before running down. However, Hari did not show up, and the girl never got paid.
The girl’s school discovered that she was having sex for money and reported the matter to the police. The police later seized and conducted a forensic examination on the girl’s phone and traced Hari by referring his number to a telecommunications company.
The telco screened Hari’s mobile number and obtained his particulars. Five other men were identified through the telco screening and two of them were later prosecuted.
During his trial, Hari said that he believed the girl was 18 years old. He claimed that he had met the girl to give her $70 out of kindness when the girl suddenly pulled down his jeans and grabbed his penis.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) N K Anitha, however, said that Hari was well aware of the girl’s age before having sex with her. She added that Hari had exploited the financially desperate girl.
In mitigation, Hari, who was unrepresented, said that if he were sentenced, he would not be able to graduate as he would not be able to serve his internship, which was a requirement for graduation.
“If I’m sentenced, I won’t get a good job and will be unable to take care of my family. My whole life would be ruined,” said Hari, who asked the court to impose a fine instead of a jail term on him.
But District Judge Kenneth Yap rebuked Hari for his self-centeredness. “You are evidently showing no remorse, everything you’re saying here hinges on you. What will happen to you if you’re incarcerated,” said the DJ. “Everything you are saying is about your life, you have not shown a shred of remorse. To add salt to the wound, you didn’t pay her.”
Hari will have the commencement of his jail term delayed pending clarification by the prosecution with his school on his graduation requirement. For having commercial sex with a person under 18 years old, Hari could have been jailed up to seven years and/or fined.