6 years for online predator convicted of sex offences, criminal intimidation, defamation and circulating obscene objects

SINGAPORE - Posing as a 13-year-old girl on Facebook, an unemployed man instigated a divorcee to take photographs of his six-year-old daughter's private parts and send them to him in return for sex.

Zulkiflie Rahmat, 40, started communicating with the 35-year-old man on Facebook in October 2016. After a few days of chatting, the man, believing that Zulkiflie was a 13-year-old girl, suggested that they meet.

Zulkiflie sent a few photographs of a girl's private parts to him, saying that this was "her'' vagina. He also asked the man for pictures of his daughter's private parts.

When the man refused, Zulkiflie told him that they could not meet. But he promised to have sex with the man if he complied.

The co-accused, on the pretext of cleaning his daughter, took five photographs of her private parts using his mobile phone camera and sent them to Zulkiflie.

Zulkiflie lied to the man that he will meet him the next day and he blocked the latter on Facebook. He subsequently sent the pictures to others and claimed that he had sex with a six-year-old girl. He also circulated the images on the Internet.

This was just one of the offensive acts that Zulkiflie committed, a court heard on Friday (Feb 23).

He also victimised a teenager by spreading false claims to her friends that she was the person seen in one of the obscene videos which he circulated on the Internet, causing significant distress to her.

The court heard that Zulkiflie stole the identities of real Facebook users and created fake profiles which he used to commit highly offensive acts. He circulated obscene images and videos to numerous people on Facebook, including several minors.

His offences also included defaming a 20-year-old male polytechnic student and a 15-year-old girl, and sexual exploitation of a child by procuring a 13-year-old girl to send him her naked photographs.

Zulkiflie was sentenced to six years' jail by District Judge Lorraine Ho, after he admitted to 11 charges. Twenty-four other charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

The judge agreed with the prosecution that Zulkiflie's acts were egregious and that he took advantage of naive children. She said it was very disturbing that Zulkiflie used a popular social media platform to commit crimes and particularly targeted teenagers.

Turning to Zulkiflie, she said: "I do hope that if you need help, please go and seek help. Certainly, I think, social media should not be used in this form and in this fashion. These are young and impressionable teenagers. It can be anybody's children.''

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) James Chew had asked for a total sentence of 76 months' jail to be imposed to protect vulnerable minors who are increasingly active on cyberspace, and to send a strong message to Zulkiflie and others that such crimes would not be tolerated.

"It is clear that he is an online predator who is fully adept at using the Internet to deceive, manipulate and sexually exploit victims," he said. "He is a danger to the public, and especially to young and vulnerable minors.''

Zulkiflie's lawyer Melvin Loh, assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said in his mitigation plea that his client suffers from low self-esteem in his entire life. He said Zulkiflie, who was educated up to N levels, took the wrong way to get attention.