Labourer jailed for having paid sex with teenager

A part-time odd-job labourer who had paid sex with a 17-year-old girl three times over nine days was jailed for nine months yesterday.

Toh Chuan Choon, 53, admitted to two counts of obtaining the sexual services of the girl at his Boon Lay flat for $500 on Feb 8 and $200 on Feb 17. Another charge involving $100 was taken into consideration in sentencing.

A district court heard that co-accused Ng Kok Hua, 60, a retiree, had approached the victimlast October when he saw her crying. The school dropout told him she had numerous personal issues, including a strained relationship with her mother.

He offered her support and they stayed in touch. Ng found out that she was 17.

The court heard that her birthday is closer to the end of the year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor N.K. Anitha said that in January, the victim told Ng that she was looking to earn money. He suggested that the easiest way was for her to "sell her body", which she did not immediately agree to.

Ng, who has since been charged with several offences, told Toh about the victim. He also told Toh her actual age and her troubled family background, and mediated the "flesh transaction".

On Feb 8 at 1.24am, Ng called the victim on the phone and told her to meet him downstairs if she wanted money.

Toh was waiting with Ng. All three then had beer nearby.

Toh asked the victim how old she was, and she said that she was 17.

The trio then went to Toh's flat, where they continued drinking. Toh handed $500 to the victim in Ng's presence and Ng told her it was for sex.

She accepted the payment and Toh had two rounds of unprotected sex with the victim in his bedroom.

Subsequently, Toh obtained the victim's contact number and began to call her directly.

On Feb 17 at about 1am, he sought Ng's help to contact the victim, who was not picking up his calls. Ng then called and pestered the victim to go over to Toh's flat.

She said that she did not want to have sex with Toh but Ng persuaded her to go to Toh's home.

Shortly after she arrived, Ng left the flat. Toh had sex with the victim and paid her $200.

A social worker from the Ministry of Social and Family Development reported the case on Feb 24. Through follow-up investigation, Toh and Ng were arrested.

Pleading for leniency, Toh's lawyer Jeanny Ng said in mitigation that her client has been visiting his 76-year-old widowed mother, who has cancer, daily at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital since June 1.

Toh could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined for having paid sex with a person under 18 years old on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Labourer jailed for having paid sex with teenager'. Print Edition | Subscribe