Retiree's jail term for oral sex with boy increased

A 63-year-old retiree who performed oral sex on a 12-year-old boy in the toilet of a park had his jail term raised from the minimum eight years to 11 years yesterday, after an appeal by prosecutors for harsher punishment.

The additional three years of jail for Chua Hock Leong includes six months that was imposed in lieu of caning, said the Court of Appeal.

The offence carries mandatory caning of at least 12 strokes but it cannot be enforced in this case as Chua is over 50 years old.

Chua, who is married with grown-up children, had been sentenced last year in the High Court for sexually assaulting the boy in a handicapped toilet in Tampines Eco Green, in Tampines Avenue 9.

The judge declined the prosecution's request to impose extra jail time in lieu of caning.

The prosecution appealed, asking for Chua's prison sentence to be increased to 12 years and with another 24 weeks' jail in lieu of caning.

Yesterday, Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, speaking for the three-judge court, said the extra six months' jail was to make up for the deterrent effect that was lost by the exemption from caning.

Justice Phang noted that Chua was 61 years old when he committed the offence. Most offenders of a similar age would know they will escape caning because of age, he added.

The extra jail time underscores the importance of deterring others from committing such crimes, the court said.

Chua was five times older than the boy and instead of advising him not to play truant, he preyed on the victim to satisfy his own depraved sexual desires, the court added.

Explaining the reasons for raising Chua's jail term, the court noted aggravating factors, including the psychological harm caused to the boy and Chua's lack of remorse.

The court noted that Chua sought to portray the boy as the sexual predator who propositioned him. It noted that the boy now fears older men and no longer goes out on his own.

On the morning of Jan 27, 2016, the boy was waiting for his friend to be dismissed from school when he said "hi" to Chua, a retired technician.

The two had never met The boy said Chua gave him $2 to go with him to the park.

The boy said Chua barged in when he went to use the toilet cubicle. As Chua performed oral sex on him, he pushed him away and ran out. His mother later made a police report.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'Retiree's jail term for oral sex with boy increased'. Print Edition | Subscribe