Engineer who preyed on 31 young boys gets 30 years' jail, 24 strokes of the cane

SINGAPORE - An engineer who preyed on 31 victims, in what was described as Singapore's worst case of sex offences against young boys, has been sentenced to 30 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

Yap Weng Wah, 31, had sexually groomed the boys, who were aged between 11 and 15, after meeting them online. In all but one case, he either sodomised or had oral sex with them at his rental flat, in hotel rooms and toilets at shopping centres and swimming pools.

When his Yishun home was raided after his arrest in September 2012, police found more than 2,000 videos on his laptop of him having sex with others, including young boys. The videos had been meticulously catalogued with the boys' names, ages and year he met them.

The prosecution had sought a minimum 30-year jail term, and 24 strokes of the cane.

The Malaysian quality assurance engineer moved here to work in 2009. He befriended the boys on Facebook using different identities, but usually as an 18-year-old polytechnic student. Some of the boys accepted his friend request after seeing that they shared mutual friends.

He gained their trust by portraying himself as an older brother or mentor, sometimes over several weeks or months.

Between November 2009 and June 2012, he cajoled 30 of the boys into consenting to having anal or oral sex with him. The other victim, 12, was persuaded to send Yap a video of himself performing a lewd act.

Yap recorded most of the sex acts with the 30 boys on his mobile phone. When they protested, he assured them he would delete the footage. However, he stored the videos on his laptop, and would masturbate to them.

He has been diagnosed by the Institute of Mental Health with hebephilia - a sexual preference for early adolescent children generally aged 11 to 14.