While serving sentence for past offences, a youth got into an intimate relationship with a woman from a dating app and began extorting her for money.
Lee Weng Jun, a 22-year-old Malaysian, had filmed the 23-year-old woman in a video chat and promised to delete the footage in exchange for money.
Lee, who is a Singapore permanent resident working as a warehouse assistant, was sentenced to two years and three months’ jail on Tuesday (20 November) on one charge of extortion. He will also be caned one stroke for the offence. One count of attempted extortion was taken into consideration for sentencing.
Lee befriended the woman on 20 July through the dating app “Tantan”. They later began chatting on WhatsApp before becoming intimate with each other.
On 11 August, the duo engaged in a video call where the woman took off her clothes. Lee recorded the woman without her knowledge.
Lee only informed her of what he had done after the video call ended. He then asked for $2,000 in exchange for deleting the obscene video. He demanded for a receipt or other proofs of transfer and threatened to release the video.
Fearing for her reputation, the woman complied, according to the prosecution. She made two transfers of $1,000 into Lee’s account and on the same day and sent screenshots of the transfer to Lee.
After receiving the money, Lee asked the woman if he would be going overboard if he demanded for an extra $1,000 in exchange for deleting the video. The woman pleaded with him, saying that she was a student and not working. Lee then asked the woman for $500 more, prompting the woman to ask that the man keep his promise.
Lee assured that he had already deleted the video even though he had not.
The woman lodged a police report on 24 August after he admitted that he had not deleted the video. He had asked for another $2,000. Lee was arrested the same day.
His mobile phone, which he had used to record the video, was seized.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Wu Yujie told the court that Lee had committed the offences while on home detention for property-related offences including theft. Lee showed that he was not remorseful and not committed to rehabilitation, said the DPP.
In mitigation, Lee, who was not represented, said that he wanted to begin his sentence on Tuesday as he did not want his two-year-old daughter to “forget me as a daddy”.
District Judge (DJ) Kessler Soh, however, ordered his current sentence to begin after Lee completed his previous sentence of two years and nine months.
“I hope you remember this, serve your sentence, go out and never come back again so that you can spend time with your family,” said the DJ to Lee. The judge added that he had considered Lee’s young age in only imposing one stroke of the cane.
The minimum jail term for extortion is two years. Lee could have been jailed up to seven years with caning.