Man sentenced to 10 months' jail for engaging services of underage prostitute

SINGAPORE - A 25-year-old student, Hari Kumar Anpalagan, was sentenced to 10 months' jail on Tuesday (Dec 12) after he was found guilty of engaging the services of a 16-year-old prostitute in May last year.

The girl admitted that she started providing sexual services in exchange for cash when she was 14.

Following a three-day trial, District Judge Kenneth Yap convicted Hari of one count of hiring a sex worker who was below 18 years old.

In her submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor N. K. Anitha told the court that four other men had been identified after police searched the girl's mobile phone.

Two were prosecuted and a third was referred to the Serious Sexual Crime Branch of the Singapore Police Force for investigations. Court papers did not mention what happened to the fourth man. The girl, now 18, cannot be named to protect her identity.

DPP Anitha said the teenager claimed that she needed cash to buy food and top-up credits for her phone.

Some time last year, Hari responded to her post on the Tagged social network app in which the girl requested help to buy a new mobile phone. He offered to assist and asked what he would receive in return.

The girl offered sexual services, and, after negotiating, they agreed that she would receive $70. The pair met at around 9pm in May last year at the void deck of her block of flats.

She told him that she was 16 years old but this did not deter Hari from engaging her services. They were having unprotected sex at a staircase landing between the sixth and seventh storeys when one of her neighbours spotted them.

The pair stopped what they were doing and the girl told Hari that she would wait for him downstairs before running off. He left without paying her.

The offences came to light when the girl's school found out about her activities. The police were notified, and officers arrested Hari after they found text messages between him and the girl when they searched her mobile phone.

Hari, who was unrepresented, had earlier told the court that he did not have sex with the girl. He claimed in his defence that he met the girl out of the "goodness of his heart" to give her $70 to help her buy a phone.

Judge Yap chided Hari on Tuesday and told him: "You have not shown a shred of remorse for the girl... You added salt to the wound by not paying her."

Hari asked the court to defer his sentence to a later date, saying that he had to complete an internship. He will be back in court on Jan 5 next year.

For engaging the services of an underage prostitute, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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