SINGAPORE — A 43-year-old man engaged in a sex act with a 15-year-old boy he met through a gay social networking application was caught when the police kicked down the door to the staircase landing the pair was at.
Chin Khai Shong, a Singaporean, was jailed for seven months on Wednesday (11 August) after earlier pleading guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a young person, with another taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Chin, a former employee with People’s Association, had originally claimed trial to his charges but pleaded guilty midway during his trial after the charges were amended. Chin originally faced a charge of attempted sexual penetration of a person under 16, and procuring the commission of an obscene act by a young person.
Chin has since lost his job, which he held for nearly a decade.
He met the victim, now 18, through Blued, an application for gay social networking. The pair began to message each other on 27 January 2019 and their conversation turned sexual.
The duo agreed to meet up for sex the next day at a staircase landing. They met at about 7.14pm on 28 January 2019 and sat down at the staircase landing to chat.
For the next hour, they began engaging in sexual activity. At about 8.15pm, the victim went back to his residence to procure a bottle of baby oil and Vaseline. He returned to the staircase landing where Chin was waiting at about 8.30pm.
The boy then applied the lubricants to both Chin's and his own private parts. They began engaging in sexual activity again when a police officer kicked open the door to the staircase landing and saw the duo in a compromising position. The statement of facts did not reveal how the duo were found by the police.
The pair hurriedly pulled up their shorts.
Accused was not attracted to victim upon their meeting: Defence
Chin’s lawyer, Alfred Dodwell, told the court that his client was bisexual and had wanted to explore the “millennial-way of dating” when he downloaded Blued. The lawyer noted that to use the app, a person had to be 17 or older, so his client had every reason to believe that the victim was 17. Furthermore the victim had lied that he was 18 and was studying in a polytechnic. The victim later revised his age to say he was 16.
“It must be noted that (Chin) had no reason to believe that a youth younger than 16 was chatting with him and also... interested in this scene, let alone to lie about his age and disposition in this manner. The conversation certainly was indicative of (the victim) being someone who had knowledge of the gay sexuality and was indicative that he was ready for exploration and action,” said Dodwell in Chin’s mitigation plea.
The lawyer added that while Chin was initially attracted to the victim, he lost interest upon meeting up with the victim, as the boy looked “very different from his pictures”.
“(Chin) did not want to appear rude and discourteous to inform (the victim) to his face what he felt... So (Chin) decided to stay on and chat in person, since he had already made his way there.”
After a chat, during which the victim allegedly showed Chin some explicit videos, Chin expressed his desire to leave but the victim suggested that they engaged in a sexual act before parting ways. The boy then went to his house to retrieve the lubricants. Chin then thought it was rude to leave, and decided to stay on.
'Mutual from beginning to the very end': Defence lawyer
Submitting for six months’ jail for Chin, Dodwell said, “There was no exploitation, no luring into the dark, no misleading statements save for the age, which did not significantly change the matrix. In fact, (the victim) said age did not matter to him, as he would still have met (Chin) if he was not misled about the age. (Chin) did not force, coerce, cajole or in any way influence the sexual liaisons. It was mutual from beginning to the very end.”
Deputy Public Prosecutor Benjamin Samyathan sought a jail term of eight months due to the intrusive nature of the act, which involved skin-on-skin contact, and because Chin had one charge taken into consideration which would have ordinarily warranted a significant jail term.
Sentencing Chin, District Judge Luke Tan noted that Chin himself had lied about his age, claiming to be 25 years old in chat messages submitted to court as evidence.
“The accused could not be regarded as having believed the victim was really of the age he purported to be, since this was something that parties (including the accused himself) could so easily, and do in fact, lie about,” said DJ Tan.
DJ Tan ruled that there was no evidence of abuse of trust in the case and that the victim “did not play an entirely passive role” but had voluntarily participated in the encounter.
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