He saw the profile of a 13-year-old girl on Instagram and found her cute. After meeting the girl, he developed feelings for her and ended up having sex with her.
Several months later, Simon Spurgeon Ho Wei Chen, 25, stalked another 15-year-old girl he knew from church and grabbed her buttocks while he was following her to work.
On Thursday (21 December), Ho was jailed 19 months for having sex with a minor twice and molesting another girl in a separate incident.
Ho, who is a university student, had eleven other charges, including shop theft, breaches under the Protection From Harassment Act and housebreaking by night taken into consideration for sentencing.
The two victims of the sexual offences cannot be named due to a gag order.
The court heard that Ho, who was also doing part-time sales, met the 13-year-old girl through Instagram in February last year. Ho liked the girl’s looks and asked to follow her on the photo-sharing platform. After the girl accepted, he began messaging her and they exchanged contact details. Before meeting her, Ho told the girl he liked her and the girl reciprocated his feelings.
The two met up for the first time on 17 February with a group of friends to watch a movie. Ho was aware of the girl’s age then.
The duo went out again a week later. On 24 February, Ho brought the girl to the abandoned Brunei Hostel and the two had sex on the top floor. They then hung out at Dhoby Ghaut before heading to Fort Canning Park at night, where they had sex again on a bench.
After that day, the girl stopped responding to Ho’s texts as she felt too young to be having sex and regretted the act.
The girl’s elder sister also met Ho through Instagram and the two met up to watch a movie. During the outing, Ho told her about his sexual encounter with her younger sister. The girl’s mother came to know of the sexual encounters and made a police report on 2 June.
On 23 May last year, Ho harassed a 15-year-old girl he was acquainted with from church.
The girl was walking towards a bus stop in Clementi when Ho approached her. Ho then used his mobile phone to take photos and snapchats of the girl without her consent.
He then shadowed her as she took the bus and train towards Orchard MRT station. The girl told him she was going for a work attachment but Ho continued following her. While the two were commuting, Ho touched the girl’s arms and hips, even as the girl rejected his advances.
As the girl alighted at City Hall MRT station, Ho trailed her up an escalator and grabbed her buttocks from behind. The girl pushed his hands away and told him to stop but he pursued her until she boarded a shuttle bus at Orchard MRT station.
Ho’s lawyer Kelvin Lim said that his client was diagnosed with hypomania – a condition characterised by hyperactivity – in 2015 after he was suspended from university. His girlfriend had also broken up with him as the girl’s parents did not approve of their relationship.
The lawyer said that the disorder was “causally linked” to Ho’s offences as recklessness is one of its characteristics.
However DPP Tan Zhi Xiang said that Ho’s condition had little mitigating value as he had been in control of himself at the point in time.
DPP Tan sought a 19-month jail sentence for Ho, saying that his offences were premeditated, as he had brought condoms with him when he met the 13-year-old girl.
For having sex with a minor under 14, Ho could have been jailed up to 20 years and fined and caned.