She told the man that she was 17 years old but he failed to verify her age before engaging in sex with her. It turned out that the girl was only 11 years old.
Li Jixian, a 25-year-old Singaporean who is a car dealer, was sentenced to three years’ jail on Thursday (22 November) after he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration of a minor under 14 years old, an offence which constitutes statutory rape.
Two other counts of sexual penetration and one count of committing an indecent act with a child, under the Children and Young Persons Act, were taken into account for sentencing.
The girl, now 13 years old, is a Vietnamese student staying with her divorced mother in Singapore. She cannot be named to protect her identity.
The two met through WeChat in April 2016 after Li used the “people nearby” function in the app to send out random greetings to users. He received a response from the girl.
The pair started chatting, during which the girl lied that she was 17 years old. The girl also told Li where she was staying.
After a few days of chatting, the two met up at a shelter beside a playground near the girl’s home one evening and later, they hugged and kissed.
They stayed in touch and met again in June that year. They met at the same shelter before Li led the girl to a private area, behind a bin centre nearby. There, the two engaged in sexual acts.
They met again the next month to engage in the same acts, at a staircase landing of a HDB block.
On both instances, Li did not use protection.
The girl’s mother found out about the acts and made a police report on 13 August 2016, alleging that a man had raped her daughter.
The prosecution sought three years’ jail for Li, stating that the facts of the case warranted a higher sentence. Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said that the victim was vulnerable because of her age and that any consent she gave was irrelevant.
The DPP said that even if the victim claimed she was 17, Li still had “the responsibility and onus as an adult to verify her age” before engaging in sexual activities. The age of consent in Singapore is 16.
The failure to use protection was also a “reckless act”, said the DPP, who added that the acts were premeditated as Li got to know the girl before engaging in sex with her.
Li’s lawyer, Henry Lim, said in mitigation that his client had married his girlfriend of seven years in January this year and was waiting for the keys to his matrimonial flat at the end of the year.
While the lawyer also said that Li should have checked the girl’s age, he pointed out that Li was only 23 years old when he committed the offence and had “lacked the wisdom and sound judgement”.
“He is truly remorseful and is deeply sorry that he had succumbed and thus caused distress and embarrassment not only to the victim and her family but to his family and wife,” Lim said. Li’s wife has since forgiven him, the lawyer added.
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