Former national badminton player Ashton Chen accused of sexual offences with underage girl

Former national shuttler Ashton Chen faces charges of allegedly committing sexual acts with a minor over two years.
Former national shuttler Ashton Chen faces charges of allegedly committing sexual acts with a minor over two years. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Former national badminton player Ashton Chen Yongzhao has been taken to court after he allegedly committed consensual sexual acts on an underage girl multiple times over two years.

Chen, 28, who was first charged in April, is said to have committed his first offence against the minor in early 2014. Court documents did not reveal the nature of their relationship.

The girl, who was then 13 years old, allegedly performed oral sex on him at a staircase landing at Block 935, Tampines Street 91, according to court documents.

She allegedly performed the same act on him at a multi-storey carpark of Block 248, Simei Street 2 between late 2015 and early 2016, where they also had sexual intercourse.

The court heard that he allegedly performed similar offences on the girl in a nursing room at Eastpoint Mall in Simei Street 6 in June 2016. She is said to have performed oral sex on him at an HDB staircase landing in Simei a month later.

Chen, who has been offered $15,000 bail, is scheduled to appear before District Judge Christopher Goh on Monday (June 4).

Chen's Linkedin profile states that he had taken part in major competitions including the South-east Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships.

The New Paper reported in 2014 that his run as a professional badminton men's singles player ended in April that year. He was then the men's singles world No. 69.

Earlier news reports stated that he reached a career-high ranking of No. 50 and was Singapore's second-ranked singles player behind Derek Wong, who was then at No. 47.

Chen first made headlines in 2007 after beating Malaysia's former world No. 1 Roslin Hashim at the Asian Satellite tournament.

Chen was also a member of the men's teams that took silver at the 2007 SEA Games and bronze at the 2009 and 2011 editions.

For each charge, offenders convicted of having consensual sex with a child below 14 years old can be jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

Those convicted of having consensual sex with a minor between 14 and 15 years old can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge.