Commercial sex tour organiser never had sex with any minor, says his lawyer

SINGAPORE - The first Singaporean to be convicted of organising a commercial sex tour overseas was allowed on Monday to revoke his bail pending his sentence next month.

Before he was led away from the dock to be remanded, Chan Chun Hong turned around to gesture to his parents seated in the public gallery that he was going in.

District Judge Siva Shanmugam will sentence Chan on March 23 on 12 of 145 charges - seven of distributing obscene materials, one of making travel plans for an undercover cop to have commercial sex outside Singapore, three of distributing information to promote conduct of commercial sex with a minor, and one of having obscene films at his Yishun Ring Road home.

The 31-year-old Nanyang Technological University civil engineering graduate was serving in the Singapore Armed Forces at the time of the distribution of obscene materials offences totalling 135 committed over a one-year period in 2011 and 2012.

He had joined a major insurance company as a financial consultant when he was nabbed at Changi Airport on March 1 last year.

Police established his identity after receiving information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2013 that a male Singaporean was distributing child pornography materials worldwide.

The information had also revealed that there were e-mail exchanges between the Singaporean and other users which suggested that Chan had engaged in child sex tourism.

Chan's lawyer Rajan Nair said in mitigation his client had a depressive episode following his late Taiwanese fiancee's illness from womb cancer in 2009. In 2010, he took unpaid leave from the SAF to live and take care of her in Taiwan until her death that year.

Chan, he said, has always been a person of good character and held in good esteem and standing by his peers and colleagues.

Diagnosed with paedophilia, Chan intends to undergo treatment upon his release from prison, said the lawyer.

Mr Nair said it was the undercover cop "Teo Dennis" who had initiated contact with Chan and started asking him about "young girls". Chan did not seek out persons for whom he could organised commercial sex tours.

He said Chan had never had sex with a minor. It was most likely that he would not have arranged for the trip for Teo Dennis and himself or anyone else to go overseas for commercial sex with minors if the latter had not instigated him. It was very likely that Chan would have cancelled the intended trip in April last year as he was busy with his work.

"The only silver lining in this whole episode is that Mr Chan has been forced to confront his problem and is now finally able to courageously take steps to ensure that he does not suffer a relapse," said Mr Nair.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said Chan claims he had never had sex with a minor and that he did not have any experience with the Cambodia prostitution scene. Yet he has consistently informed other parties otherwise.

He said Chan has failed to show he is genuinely remorseful and contrite for his wrongdoing as he has tried to minimize his misconduct at every stage of the investigations and prosecution.