Sex tour organiser opts to stay in custody

Sex tour organiser opts to stay in custody
Chan Chun Hong had faced 145 charges, including making travel plans for an undercover cop to have commercial sex in Cambodia.

The first man in Singapore to be convicted of organising a commercial sex tour overseas chose to be remanded yesterday, pending sentencing next month.

District Judge Siva Shanmugam revoked Chan Chun Hong's $100,000 bail at the request of his lawyer Rajan Nair, who said his client did not wish to be released.

The 31-year-old, who will be sentenced on March 23, turned to face his parents and gestured that he was going into custody before being led away from the dock by policemen.

Chan, also known as Chris, had faced 145 charges.

He admitted to seven of distributing obscene materials, one of making travel plans for an undercover cop to have commercial sex in Cambodia, three of distributing information to promote conduct of commercial sex with a minor, and one of having obscene films at his Yishun Ring Road home.

The Nanyang Technological University civil engineering graduate was a Singapore Armed Forces captain when he transmitted more than 100 obscene photographs and videos of young girls to others between December 2011 and November 2012.

When he was arrested last March, he was a financial consultant who topped his cohort in sales. He left around June after he was charged in court.

Acting on information received in 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on a male Singaporean distributing child pornography electronically, police managed to establish Chan's identity.

Investigations showed that Chan, who was subsequently diagnosed as a paedophile, had distributed the obscene materials to trade for new child pornography after he became addicted to it.

In mitigation, Mr Nair said Chan had suffered a depressive episode after his late Taiwanese fiancee died in 2010 following a two-year cancer battle.

Almost a year after he had stopped accessing his Internet account, he foolishly acceded to requests from an "Internet friend" for information and help in arranging a commercial sex trip, the lawyer said.

The friend turned out to be an undercover cop.

"It is Mr Chan's case that he never had sex with a minor whether locally or overseas," said Mr Nair.

If the decoy cop "Teo Dennis" had not instigated him, Chan would not have arranged the trip for Teo Dennis and himself or anyone else to go overseas for commercial sex with minors, the lawyer said.

He added that it was very likely Chan would have cancelled the intended April trip to Cambodia as he was busy with his work.

"The only silver lining in this whole episode is that Mr Chan has been forced to confront his problem and is now finally able to courageously take steps to ensure that he does not suffer a relapse."

The lawyer argued that the prosecution's submissions that Chan was targeting minors were based on "suppositions, suggestions and suspicions".

"The court cannot rely on such matters for sentencing," he said.

Mr Nair also said it was not correct for the prosecutor to say Chan "is not a newbie to the realm of commercial sex with minors overseas" as there were no facts to prove this.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said Chan claims he had never had sex with a minor and that he did not have any experience with the Cambodian prostitution scene, yet he has consistently informed other parties otherwise.

"The accused claims in mitigation that he 'truly regrets the commission of the offences', but from his constant efforts to diminish his responsibility, it appears that what he truly regrets is having been caught."

The maximum penalty for organising a trip for commercial sex with a minor overseas is 10 years' jail and a fine.

The punishment is the same for distributing data intended to promote such conduct.

elena@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on February 17, 2015.
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