A married man who extorted $197,000 in cash and $52,000 in valuables from a male teacher by threatening to expose their sexual encounter was given jail of three years and four months, with three strokes of the cane yesterday.
Vincent Ng Hian Gee, 35, who used to work in sales but is now unemployed, had earlier admitted to a charge of extorting $70,000 and a Chanel bag worth $3,900 from the 45-year-old teacher in September 2013.
Ng, who had seven other counts of extortion taken into consideration during sentencing, had threatened to disclose their sexual encounter to the teacher's school and the Ministry of Education (MOE).
They came to know each other through a Web portal in August 2013. In September, the teacher, who cannot be named because of a gag order, invited Ng to his house, where they had sex.
Later, Ng found out the teacher's occupation and started sending text messages to harass him.
Ng demanded large sums of money and threatened to report their encounter to the ministry and the teacher's school.
Fearing for his reputation and that he would lose his job, the teacher gave in to Ng's demands. On Sept 20, Ng asked to meet the teacher and threatened again to go to his workplace and report the matter to MOE.
The teacher agreed to meet Ng, who asked for $65,000.
The two went to DBS Telepark in Tampines Central, where the teacher withdrew $60,000 and handed it to Ng. They then went to the Chanel outlet at Marina Bay Sands, where Ng chose a bag worth $3,900.
The teacher paid for it. He also transferred two sums of $5,000 over two days to Ng's bank account. The court heard that Ng gambled away the money at a casino.
He has since paid back $24,000 and returned a Rolex watch, gold chain and gold pendant.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Wuan had asked for at least four years' jail, with three to four strokes of the cane.
He noted that the teacher finally mustered the courage to lodge a police report in March 2014, when he was at his wit's end, and his entire life savings had been depleted.
In mitigation, Ng's lawyer, Mr James Ow Yong, told the court that Ng had quarrelled with his wife in September 2013 about the decision to have children.
She had teased him about having feminine traits, and he felt rejected and confused about his sexuality.
Ng went on the Internet to have conversations with gay men and got to know the teacher.
After meeting the teacher, however, Ng, who said he was looking for love and intimacy, felt rejected.
The teacher had told him to leave after their sexual encounter, and did not want to maintain their relationship. The teacher also did not return Ng's calls and messages.
Hurt and rejected, Ng wanted to "punish" the teacher, said the lawyer, who asked for a minimum sentence for his client.
The penalty for extortion is between two and seven years' jail, and mandatory caning.
Ng will start serving his sentence on Feb 29.