SINGAPORE - Posing as an off-duty public servant, an odd-job worker told a couple that they could settle the matter by giving him money, valuables or "happy hour'' - which refers to sex with the girl.
Kumaresan Raman, 28, was jailed for two years and ordered to be given six strokes of the cane on Tuesday (June 27) after admitting to putting Mr Aravind Naidu, 19, in fear of harm to his body, by threatening to arrest him if he did not give him cash or valuables.
A second similar charge involving Mr Aravind's 19-year-old girlfriend, Ms Chan Shu Ling, was considered during his sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Rimplejit Kaur said that Mr Aravind was waiting for his girlfriend, who was using the public toilet near Block 433 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, at about 12am on March 29 last year.
Kumaresan approached Mr Aravind and claimed that he knew what he and Ms Chan did in the toilet. He refused to explain what he meant when asked.
He then said he was from a government agency, but was off-duty and did not have his warrant card. He asked for Mr Aravind's identity card and asked him to fetch his girlfriend from the loo.
When Ms Chan approached Kumaresan, he asked for her identity card, and said he knew what the two of them were doing earlier.
She was confused by his statement but nonetheless gave him her IC as she believed that he was from a government agency. Kumaresan then spoke on his mobile phone, pretending to verify the particulars of the victims.
He told the couple that they could settle the matter the "non-government way", which was to give money, valuables or "happy hour". When Ms Chan asked what he meant by "happy hour", Kumaresan replied that he meant sex with her. He then threatened to arrest them if they did not choose the "non-government way''.
Afraid, the couple offered to give him $80 cash, which he accepted.
While escorting them to a nearby ATM to withdraw cash, Mr Aravind, on the pretext that he was talking to his mother, called the police to inform that that he had been extorted. Kumarean grew increasingly worried and kept looking around.
The victims then took the opportunity to run away from the scene.
Pleading for leniency, Kumaresan said he was very sorry for what he had done, and wants to start afresh. He had three previous convictions for theft, and was placed on probation in 2008 for posing as a public servant and cheating.
District Judge Kenneth Yap told Kumaresan that obviously, he had not learnt his lesson.
"Your behaviour is very disturbing, to say the least. What you have committed is not just a crime, but also a crime of exploitation,'' he said.
By impersonating someone from a government agency, Judge Yap said Kumaresan undermined the trust that is placed by citizens on public agents. Furthermore, he said Kumaresan did not just ask for money, he also asked for sex.
The maximum penalty for putting a person in fear of harm to his body in order to commit extortion is five years' jail and caning.