The friend requests on Facebook seemed innocent enough.
But little did the boys know that a monster, Yap Weng Wah, was lying in wait, ready to unleash his perverted sexual fantasies on them.
The 31 boys who had accepted "gor gor's" (big brother in Cantonese) online requests between 2009 and 2012 soon found themselves being preyed upon in what was described by prosecutors as "the worst case" of sexual violation against young boys here.
Yap, 31, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of sexual penetration of a minor and was convicted yesterday.
Another 64 charges were taken into consideration.
The Malaysian will be sentenced on a later date.
The court heard that his victims, who were aged between 11 and 15, were made to perform acts ranging from kissing Yap to performing oral sex on him.
They cannot be named to protect their identities.
Yap's method of operation was simple.
He would trawl the Internet, looking for boys who lived or who went to school near his rental apartment in New Upper Changi Road, and later in Yishun.
Once he found his targets, he would befriend them on Facebook.
Yap, who was then a quality assurance engineer, naturally, lied about his identity.
He sometimes went by the name of "Loon" or "Wai Loon", and said he was a polytechnic student here.
Sometimes, he would say he was from Indonesia.
Once he befriended the boys, Yap would chat with his potential victims for one or two weeks and, in some cases, a few months, via MSN or SMS.
He would learn more about the boys, like if they were loners or had family problems, or if they simply needed advice from a "big brother".
He would also find out what they enjoyed doing, such as watching movies, playing video games or sports.
In the course of his exchanges, Yap would also subtly bring up the subject of sex to assess his victims' sexual orientations, court papers revealed.