Online vice ring: SAF Lieutenant Colonel on trial for sex with underage prostitute

A Lieutenant Colonel in the Singapore Armed Forces is on trial for having sex with an underage prostitute. Armour officer Emlyn Thomas Thariyan, 37, is accused of paying for the sexual services of the 17-year-old on Feb 18, 2011, for $500 at Hotel 81 Bencoolen.

The teen, who cannot be named, is said to have had paid sex with 51 men. She testified on Wednesday behind closed doors. On Tuesday - the first day of trial - Deputy Superintendent Connie Seek, a forensic analyst with the Criminal Investigation Department, testified on the text messages exchanged between Thariyan and the victim and her pimp Tang Boon Thiew.

A representative of the hotel also testified to the authenticity of the room registration card that was signed by Thariyan. Thariyan is not disputing that he had booked the teen via text messages and rented the hotel room but denies having sex with her in the hour they were together.

Thariyan, who is single, is the third accused person to stand trial after former Swiss banker Juerg Buergin, 41, and business consultant Edward Whistler Goh Ngian Meng, 50. None of the trials have concluded. Eighteen men have since been convicted and jailed for between eight and 16 weeks for having sex with the same underage prostitute.