Man who sexually groomed 13-year-old girl jailed for two years and 10 months

SINGAPORE - A man who started sexually grooming a teenager when she was 13 years old has been jailed for two years and 10 months.

Nick Chong Seng Cheong, 24, had sex with the girl on multiple occasions and also paid her for it.

He pleaded guilty on Monday (April 12) to three counts of sexual penetration of a minor under 14 and one count of possessing obscene films.

Seven charges of sexual penetration of a minor were taken into consideration by District Judge Janet Wang during sentencing.

The girl cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.

Court documents state that Chong was a project lead at an engineering company when he committed the offences.

He became acquainted with the victim through chat application ChatIW in October 2017.

They subsequently communicated via WhatsApp, and Chong would ask the girl to send him photographs of her private parts.

He also sent her photographs of his genitals and videos of himself performing a sex act.

Chong later suggested that they become "friends with benefit", to which the girl agreed, on the condition that she would be paid whenever they engaged in sexual activities.

By that time, the girl had informed Chong that she was 13, the court heard.

They met up to engage in sexual activities almost every month, from October 2017 to February 2019.

These meetings took place either in toilets for the handicapped at various shopping malls or at hotels booked by Chong.

On each occasion after the first, Chong paid the victim between $30 and $50, depending on the sexual activity involved.

He knew the girl wanted the money to buy games, among other things, the court heard.

Chong told the girl to bring a change of clothes each time they met at a hotel, explaining that she would be questioned by the hotel staff if she turned up in school attire.

He would also instruct her to act like his sister to avoid arousing the suspicion of the staff.

The court heard that Chong took videos of them having sex together in the hotels, which he sent to the victim.

His offences came to light after the girl told the police in March 2019 that she had sex with several men.

Two mobile phones were later seized from Chong during police investigations, and were found to contain 48 obscene video clips.

In her written submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Emily Koh urged the court to jail him for at least three years. She said Chong had sought to exploit the girl for his sexual gratification despite being aware of her young age.

In sentencing Chong on Monday, District Judge Wang noted that there was no dispute that there was a "considerable measure of sexual grooming" in this case.

For each offence of sexually penetrating a minor under 14, Chong could have been jailed for up to 20 years. He could also have been fined or caned.

He could also have been jailed for up to six months, or fined up to $200,000, or both, for possessing obscene films.

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