He was facing financial difficulties and for a mere $30, he threatened to circulate nude photos of a male friend through a fake Facebook account that he had set up.
For that, Chou Xianpei Simon, 23, was sentenced to four weeks’ jail. The Singaporean pleaded guilty in the State Courts to one charge of criminal intimidation on Wednesday (11 October).
The court heard that Chou and the victim, Qiu Yiwen, 22, were friends who previously lived in the same hostel room eight years ago.
Sometime in 2017, Chou started to face financial difficulties and started borrowing money from his friends. He also approached Qiu thrice between April and May 2017 to borrow about $75. However, Chou continued to face financial difficulties.
On 10 September, Chou created a Facebook account using the name “Jolene Chen”. Using the account, he sent messages to Qiu and demanded that Qiu transfer $30 to a bank account by 10pm on the same day. Chou also told Qiu that should he fail to transfer the money, nude photos of Qiu would be circulated online.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee said that the nude photos were taken when both Chou and Qiu were living in the same hostel room. Qiu did not heed the threat and replied that he would be lodging a police report. But Chou continued with the threat, and said he did not mind going to jail.
Qiu subsequently lodged a police report and told the police that he suspected Chou was behind the Facebook account named “Jolene Chen”. Police later traced the account to Chou, and arrested him at his rental flat in Chuan Hoe Avenue. A mobile phone, which contained the nude photograph as well as messages sent from the “Jolene Chen” account, was seized.
During sentencing, District Judge Matthew Joseph said that apart from imprisonment, Chou’s punishment was that he had destroyed his relationship with his friend. “That will remain with you for a long time,” DJ Joseph said.
Chou, who has been in remand since 14 September, will have his sentence backdated. For committing criminal intimidation, Chou could have been jailed for up to two years, or fined, or both.
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