Online vice case: Man gets 5 months

Online vice case: Man gets 5 months

A 38-year-old army officer was yesterday jailed for five months after paying an underage prostitute $500 for sex.

Emlyn Thomas Thariyan addressed the court at his sentencing hearing and insisted he was innocent, despite his conviction on Nov 8.

But District Judge Eugene Teo, when handing down the punishment yesterday, said: "Anyone would objectively come to the same conclusion."

Thariyan is the 28th man to be sentenced in a series of cases involving the same 17-year-old prostitute, who was part of an online vice ring.

The unmarried man, who committed the offence at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on Feb 18, 2011, is one of

51 charged last year with having paid sex with the girl. He was appealing against both conviction and sentence - the highest to be meted out so far among those who fought charges against them.

His lawyer, Mr S. Skandarajah, had asked for the "minimum sentence possible".

But Deputy Public Prosecutors Kavita Uthrapathy and Elizabeth Chua called for "no less than five months" in jail, citing Thariyan's "utter lack of remorse". He had been "highly defensive and evasive", they said. This contributed to the four-day trial stretching to 10 days.

He is the fifth man to be sentenced after claiming trial, following Swiss banker Juerg Buergin, 42; ex-navy engineer Kwa Wee Nam, 34; Indonesian Reyner Desvando Suhartono, 29; and business consultant Edward Whistler Goh Ngian Meng, 51. Kwa, Suhartono and Goh each received four months' jail. Buergin is believed to have left Singapore in August after completing a 19-week jail term.

All the 23 other men who have been sentenced had pleaded guilty.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a seven-year jail term and a fine.

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