Elderly manager who asked man for sex had drinking problem and is estranged from children: Lawyer

Gan Thean Soo pleaded guilty on April 20 to one count each of harassment and assault.
Gan Thean Soo pleaded guilty on April 20 to one count each of harassment and assault. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/JOE DEMARINI, WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 71-year-old business development manager, who was caught on video asking an American man to have sex with him, has a drinking problem and is estranged from his two adult children, a district court heard on Friday (April 27).

Gan Thean Soo's lawyer, Mr Philip Loh, told District Judge May Mesenas that his client used to go to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to address problems relating to his alcohol consumption and mental state. But Gan later stopped going for the treatment sessions.

Mr Loh, who did not give details about Gan's psychological problem, added that his client's relationship with his son and daughter soured around 2005 after Gan sold off his land worth about $2 million to repay a loan.

The lawyer pleaded for his client to be given either a fine or a community-based sentence such as a day reporting order, stressing that Gan is truly remorseful and wishes to apologise to the victim, Mr Joseph Flynn De Marini, 25.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shenna Tjoa, however, urged Judge Mesenas to sentence Gan to two weeks' jail and a fine .

She added that according to an IMH report in December last year, he was not significantly intoxicated when he committed the offences and "was fully aware of what he was doing".

DPP Tjoa also said that Gan had committed the offences while using public transport, in full view of the other commuters.

Gan pleaded guilty on April 20 to one count each of harassment and assault. One charge of being a public nuisance will be taken into consideration during sentencing.


The court heard that Mr De Marini boarded the train with a Singaporean friend, Ms Li Zixin, 20, at Chinatown MRT station at around 8.15pm on April 19 last year and sat opposite Gan in the same carriage.

Mr De Marini ignored Gan when he noticed that the elderly man was staring at him. He later walked towards the American and told him: "I like you. I am gay."

Gan also propositioned the American. He got angry when Mr De Marini and Ms Li chided him for being rude, and started hurling vulgarities at the American.

The elderly man turned violent when Mr De Marini said he was not gay. The Singaporean then hurled vulgarities at the younger man and slapped him on the face.

The American recorded the incident on video and it went viral after he uploaded it onto Facebook. In the video of about four minutes long, the other passengers could be heard intervening but Gan continued harassing Mr De Marini.

Gan, Mr De Marini and Ms Li later alighted at Serangoon station but via different doors. The American alerted the police to his ordeal two days later.

On Friday, Judge Mesenas called for a report to assess Gan's suitability for a community service order. Offenders given it have to perform supervised community service for a period of time.

She also called for a report to assess his suitability for a day reporting order which is administered by the Singapore Prison Service. Offenders given it have to go to a day reporting centre for monitoring and counselling, and undergo rehabilitation programmes.

Gan is now out on bail of $8,000 and is expected to be sentenced on June 12.