SINGAPORE - THEY allegedly had commercial sex with a 17-year-old, but they were a shy lot in court on Wednesday, using a variety of props to cover their faces.
While most simply tried to use pieces of paper to hide their faces, some made a more concerted effort.
Ho Chee Keong, 36, and Ernest Lee Min Chong, 25, donned baseball caps, surgical masks and sunglasses. Lee even put on a jacket, which he did not wear earlier in the courtroom.
And then there was project manager Ng Keng Siong, 56, who refused to leave the building, insisting to The New Paper that he was waiting for a friend.
He eventually managed to slip away unnoticed.
These three were among 14 men who were charged on Wednesday with paying for sex with the minor between May 18 and May 28 this year.
The sex acts allegedly took place in hotels and lodging houses around Geylang. Most of the men gave the girl between $60 and $80. One gave her $150.
The youngest, full-time national serviceman Yap Jun Hao, 22, paid her $60. Eight of the men were above 55 years old.
The oldest was Chong Kwong Ann, 75, who saw her twice and paid $70 each time. Their jobs ran the gamut from cleaner to treasury adviser.
$40 for an hour
Social worker Ng Chak Song, 57, who allegedly paid the girl $40, was said to have spent just under an hour with her on May 27 in a Geylang hotel.
Ong Boon Hock, 61, Ng and Chong were repeat customers.
In court, the men sat quietly in the public gallery while waiting for their cases to be heard. When it was their turn in the dock, most kept their gaze to the ground or straight ahead.