Underage-sex offender has jail term upped to 10 months

Underage-sex offender has jail term upped to 10 months

A 23-year-old production worker who pressured a secondary schoolgirl he met online into having sex with him had his original jail term of four months increased to 10 months yesterday after the prosecution appealed to the High Court.

Qiu Shuihua had been due to be released on Thursday. But Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin agreed with the prosecution that the district judge who sentenced him last year was wrong to find that there was a genuine romantic relationship between Qiu and the 14-year-old girl.

Justice Chao said that while the girl had expressed affection for Qiu, he had used "emotional blackmail" to get her to have sex with him.

However, considering that this was not a case in which Qiu enticed the girl, Justice Chao imposed a sentence on the "lower end" of the normal sentencing range - of between 10 months and a year - for having sex with a minor under 16.

Qiu, then 21 and in a steady relationship with a girlfriend, got to know the younger girl on instant messaging application QQ chat in November 2012.

After exchanging contact details, they met the next day and continued to do so over the next few days.

On Nov 14 - three days after they got to know each other online - they met at his workplace in Bukit Batok and she gave him a pendant bearing the Chinese character for love as a token of her affection.

Qiu then took the girl to a container office nearby and committed a sex act on her.

Two days later, the girl went to his flat in Boon Lay Drive. She initially refused to have sex with him, but gave in after he said he was tired of her and suggested that they break up.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun argued that the district judge's reason for departing from the sentencing norm - because the pair had a genuine relationship - was flawed.

At most, it was a one-sided affair on the part of the girl, who was infatuated with Qiu, said the DPP.

Qiu's lawyer, Mr Mervyn Cheong, argued that his client did like the girl and that his actions were a result of his losing control and falling into temptation.

selinal@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 04, 2015.
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