SINGAPORE - Leveraging on his expertise in a popular trading card game, a paedophile befriended 10 boys, aged 10 to 15, over two years and obtained various sexual favours.
Goh Jun Guan cajoled his victims, avid players of the game called Vanguard, into committing various sexual acts by telling them it was part of their "training" to become better players or their punishment for losing a game.
He persuaded the boys to send him lewd photos and videos of themselves, sent them risque photos of himself and touched them inappropriately. He persuaded three boys to engage in oral sex with him at his flat and in public toilets.
On Friday (Nov 18), Goh, 27, was sentenced by the High Court to 12½ years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to nine charges - five for sexual penetration of a minor and four for sexual exploitation of a child. Another 21 charges were considered.
The court heard Goh was good at Vanguard, a game in which players build a strong deck of cards by buying box-sets that contain rare cards or by trading cards.
Goh was 23 to 25 years old when he befriended most of the victims at a game shop at Jurong Point. He also worked at a game shop at Pioneer Mall from April to July 2013.
One victim was a Primary 4 pupil whom he acknowledged as a "god brother". In December 2013, Goh invited the boy to his flat to play Vanguard. He touched the boy and performed a sex act but stopped when the boy told him to stop.
They continued to meet and at one encounter in June 2014, Goh took a photo of a sex act with the boy. After learning from the Internet the acts were wrong, the boy stopped visiting Goh's flat.
Another victim, a 12-year-old, was told by Goh he would train him in Vanguard only if he allowed him to touch his genitals. The boy told police he engaged in oral sex with Goh though he knew it was wrong as he felt he had no choice.
Goh told another victim, 11, that he had to show "courage" by sending him a photo of his genitals. The boy downloaded a photo from the Internet and sent it to Goh.
The crimes came to light when one victim, while helping with investigations into another sexual case, told police he had been exchanging photos and videos of his genitals with someone named Terry on Facebook. Terry was later established to be Goh. After his arrest, Goh was diagnosed with paedophilic disorder.
On Friday, his lawyer Richard Lim said his client, who was adopted, was a "lonely young man" who found comfort in the company of young children who admired him.
Justice Woo Bih Li said he took into account Goh's disadvantaged background.
"But I cannot accept your explanation that you felt happier and safer among young children as you thought you could protect them from being bullied."