Jailed 5 years for underage sex

WRONG TURN: Jonathan Wong Wai Kheong was convicted in Britain in 2010 of possessing child pornography.

SINGAPORE - A former Ministry of Education scholarship holder was sentenced to five years' jail yesterday for five sexual offences involving an underage girl.

Jonathan Wong Wai Kheong, 25, was found guilty on two counts of committing indecent acts and three counts of having sex with a minor.

The victim cannot be named because she is a minor.

According to court documents, the prosecution said this was "one of the worst cases of sexual penetration of a minor" it had seen, and that Wong deserved a deterrent sentence of more than four years' imprisonment.

It highlighted that he had sexually groomed and corrupted her "in a way that will probably affect her for the rest of her life".

The former University of York student was convicted of possessing child pornography in Britain in 2010. He was then expelled from university, and had his student visa revoked. In December 2010, he was given a suspended six-month sentence by the British authorities. Wong was also stripped of his scholarship.

Shortly after returning to Singapore in January last year, Wong - who worked as an editorial assistant at a publishing firm - and the girl, then 15 years old, became close after chatting online over Facebook and Skype. He called her "daughter" and she, in turn, called him "daddy".

They soon took their relationship offline, meeting for sex on several occasions between February and June last year, the court was told.

Wong, a diagnosed paedophile, had lured the girl into having sex on the pretext of teaching her about it. They had sex at the staircase landings of buildings in Bukit Batok Central and Woodlands Drive, among other places.

They also engaged in oral sex in a disabled persons' toilet at the Esplanade.

On one occasion, Wong told the girl to strip and masturbate in an online video chat. He then took screenshots of her naked, without her knowledge.

In court yesterday, a bespectacled and shackled Wong appeared calm as District Judge Jasbendar Kaur condemned him for "taking advantage of a vulnerable girl" to satisfy his sexual needs.

Judge Kaur said it was "heartening" that Wong was "quite clear and determined in seeking the necessary professional help", as he had shown in a six-page handwritten mitigation plea.

However, "an appropriate sentence must be imposed because the offences which you have committed are serious in nature, and this is a factor which I cannot ignore", she added.

Earlier, the prosecution revealed that the victim's father had said that, while Wong's sentence would not be indefinite, the impact of the latter's actions would affect his family for "the rest of their lives".

vbarker@sph.com.sg


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