45-year-old man jailed 6 months for sexually grooming underage girl

SINGAPORE - A 45-year-old man befriended a 14-year-old girl, who was here visiting her father while on holiday, and started sending her sexually charged text messages within just hours of getting to know her.

When the Filipino teenager's Singapore-based father found out about them, he took away her mobile phone and pretended to be his daughter to continue messaging Ishak Zainal.

Thinking that he was still chatting with the teenager, Ishak made arrangements to meet her at her father's flat so that he could perform a sexual act on her.

But her father had notified the police and officers ambushed Ishak the moment he stepped out of a lift near the flat.

Ishak, a Singaporean, was jailed for six months on Wednesday (Dec 13) after pleading guilty to one count of sexually grooming the underage girl. She cannot be named due to a gag order.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying said the teenager came to Singapore on May 16 last year to spend a month-long holiday with her father, who lives in a flat in the north-west.

On May 29, Ishak approached her after she had gone downstairs to throw away some rubbish. This was the first time the pair met each other, the court heard.

They chatted and decided to become friends on Facebook. The girl went home and they started to send each other text messages. The pair met again at the void deck about 45 minutes after the first encounter.

The girl then went home and on the way bumped into her grandmother. The older woman found out about the text messages and confronted her granddaughter.

The teenager cried and apologised to her grandmother. When the girl's father came home, he noticed that his daughter appeared nervous and asked what happened. She told him about Ishak.

DPP Chew said: "The accused told the victim that he was 'miserable' and 'in pain' and asked what she could do. He followed this with a message 'Can you post me your things', which was a request for the victim to convey sexually explicit photographs and videos of herself to the accused."

Ishak then arranged to meet the girl at her father's home at around 1am on May 30 but police officers arrested him when he turned up near the flat.

His lawyer, Ms Wong Su-Jin, who is from the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme Fellowship, pleaded for a jail sentence of between four and six months.

She added: "Ishak encountered (the girl) in person entirely by chance - there was no premeditation or planning."

For sexually grooming a minor, he could have been jailed for up to three years and fined.