Man who sexually groomed suspected minor through texting jailed 4 months

Wan Ting Koh
Singapore state courts (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

He downloaded a mobile application for the purpose of chatting with young girls and began sexually grooming a girl who was believed to be 15 years old.

Muhammad Syazili Muhammad Noor Aal Toha, a 53-year-old Singaporean, later asked the girl to send a photograph of her private parts to him.

On Thursday, the technician was jailed for four months after pleading guilty to one count of attempting to procure the commission of an indecent act by the girl through the photo request – a breach under the Children and Young Persons Act – and one count of sending an obscene photograph of his private parts to the girl.

The case was unique in that the police were unable to identify the supposed teenage girl. In May this year, a trial was called to determine if Syazili had a case to answer to given that the girl could not be identified and the court ruled that the case should proceed. However, instead of taking the stand, Syazili decided to plead guilty.

Sometime in late 2016, Syazili downloaded the social application Tagged on his phone to talk to young girls. He began chatting with the girl through the app on 8 December. The girl told him then that she was 15 years old.

Syazili then started talking to the girl about his profile picture, which was of a sex toy, and told her how to use it.

The man told the girl to call him “daddy” and he would address her as “baby”. He also claimed that he would “teach” her sex education.

Syazili tried to arrange a meetup with the girl, telling her about the sexual acts they could engage in. He then sent her a picture of his private parts and asked for a nude picture in return. The girl sent a picture of her private parts to him.

To avoid detection, Syazili used the wi-fi at his mother-in-law’s home to chat on Tagged.

The police received information about the case through an unknown informant.

During the course of investigations, Syazili told the police that he preyed on young girls as “they are easily to be tackle (sic) with when I talk about sex topics with them”. Syazili admitted that he would delete messages and photographs to hide his interaction with the girl.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo sought a five-month jail term for Syazili. He said Syazili was “deliberately seeking out a minor for sexual gratification”. Syazili’s actions were “the very epitome of a predator lurking in the dark recesses of the Internet”.

In addition, Syazili had engaged in moral corruption and used vulgar terms with the girl, said the prosecution.

Syazili’s lawyer, Gino Hardial Singh, asked for the maximum fine of $10,000 or a prison sentence of not more than three months to be imposed. He said Syazili is supporting his family financially and has to care for his ailing mother-in-law.

Noting that the girl has not been identified, the lawyer said the “alleged minor” was not in a “position of special vulnerability” with respect to Syazili and that she had “consensually engaged” in online chats with Syazili.

For attempting to procure the commission an indecent act by a child, Syazili could have been jailed up to five years and/or fined $10,000 on a first offence.

Other Singapore stories:

Housewife who caused maid’s head to hit the toilet wall jailed 13 months

Singapore government should pass laws against fake news: Select Committee

‘Not right’ to compare Singapore’s political situation with Malaysia’s: Anwar Ibrahim