12 years' preventive detention for man, 64, who sought sexual favours from two children

SINGAPORE - A 64-year-old dishwasher, who offered money and cigarettes to his neighbours' underage son and daughter in exchange for sexual favours, was sentenced to 12 years' preventive detention on Monday (Sept 27).

Ezana, who goes by one name, started exploiting the boy in 2016 - when he was 13 - before setting his sights on the girl a year later when she was of the same age.

Preventive detention is meted out to recalcitrant offenders, who can be incarcerated for seven to 20 years. It does not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.

The court heard that Ezana, who has a criminal record going back to when he was 15, fell within a group of prisoners with a 70.2 per cent probability of reoffending within two years of release.

In seeking 12 years' preventive detention, prosecutors noted that he was assessed to have a high risk of general reoffending and a moderate risk of sexual reoffending.

Ezana's past crimes include armed robbery, housebreaking and drug consumption.

In 1999, when he was 42, he was sentenced to five years' corrective training and six strokes of the cane for sexual offences against a 17-year-old boy.

Corrective training is a regime imposed on repeat offenders, who can be incarcerated for five to 14 years.

In the current case, Ezana, who lived alone in a Housing Board flat, became acquainted with the victims through their father, who occasionally invited him to their unit in the same block.

Ezana would drink with the victims' parents and ask them for cigarettes.

Some time in the first half of 2016, the boy visited the man's flat. He had done so before on two occasions to get cigarettes.

The two smoked and watched pornography on a laptop, before the man asked for oral sex. When the teenager complied, the man gave him $20 and cigarettes, and told him not to tell anyone.

The boy visited the flat again in mid-2016, knowing that the man would offer him money and cigarettes for sexual services, the court heard.

In May 2017, the boy's sister went to Ezana's flat for cigarettes. She had learnt from her brother that the man had previously given him some.

The man asked her to remove her shirt after they smoked together.

She did not want to do so but eventually complied when he persisted with the request.

He squeezed her breasts and told her to perform oral sex on him. He passed her $40 and told her not to tell anyone.

She repeated what she did a few days later, and received cigarettes and $50.

The offences came to light during investigations into an unrelated police report made by the girl in November 2019, in which she alleged that her father raped her.

On July 26, Ezana pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual penetration of a minor under 14.

Eleven other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing. They include four counts of exhibiting pornographic videos to a person under 21.

The case involving the girl's father is pending in court.