He was a young job-seeker when he first met the married woman, which led to phone conversations and, eventually, a sexual relationship.
When she tried to break off the affair, however, he threatened to post a nude photograph of her online for her husband to see.
At the State Courts on Monday (22 October), Zheng Haoran was sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of insulting the modesty of the 31-year-old woman by taking her nude photo without her consent.
The 24-year-old Chinese national also admitted to one count of criminal intimidation by threatening to injure her reputation. The victim cannot be named due to a court-imposed gag order.
One count of circulating obscene image of the woman, by sending the photo to her, was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Texting turned to sex
The court heard that Zheng had just graduated from polytechnic in October last year and met the woman while attending a job interview at the office of the company that employed her.
He obtained her contact number and the two subsequently began chatting. She told him during their conversations that she was married, but facing marital problems.
As the two became closer they met on three occasions during which they had sex. During their final tryst on 22 December last year, Zheng took two nude photographs of the woman without her knowledge.
The woman later felt that it was wrong to continue being in an extramarital affair and decided to break off the relationship.
Break-up leads to blackmail
When Zheng called her on 11 January this year, the woman tried to break up with Zheng, which upset him. Zheng then sent the woman one of her nude photographs and threatened to post it online.
The woman was alarmed and distressed as she did not know he had taken a nude photograph of her, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai. She made a police report later that day.
DPP Lai sought 10 weeks’ jail for Zheng.
In mitigation, Zheng’s pro bono lawyer Melvin Loh said that, at the time of the offence, Zheng was in a relationship with the woman.
The criminal intimidation charge arose after a lovers’ quarrel has escalated, said Loh. He added that Zheng has been unable to find employment since graduating from polytechnic and has been relying on friends for help.
Loh noted that Zheng has realised the folly of his actions and that the woman has since forgiven him.
For insulting the modesty of the woman, Zheng could have been jailed up to one year, fined, or both. For criminal intimidation, Zheng could have been jailed up to two years, fined, or both.
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