Online vice ring: Motor sports boss pleads guilty

SINGAPORE - A motor sports boss on Tuesday became the 20th man to plead guilty in the high-profile underage prostitute case.

Arjunan Kulasegaram, who manages races in the region, paid the 17-year-old $450 to perform a sex act on him at the Pan Pacific Orchard in October 2010.

The court heard he booked the minor after coming across a website that provided social escorts.

Nineteen other men have pleaded guilty and been jailed for between eight and 16 weeks for sex with the same girl.

Defence lawyer Hamidul Haq told the court that Kulasegaram's case was different as he did not have full sex with her and was simply seeking company.

He said his 38-year-old client spent some time chatting with the escort and was told she was an "undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University".

The lawyer added that Kulasegaram - who has health issues, including hypertension and serious back problems - had acted out of character and faced tremendous hardship due to the publicity generated by the case.

His sports industry career - which he had spent his life building - was under threat and his marriage ended in May.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim adjourned sentencing to Aug 16 to find out whether the prison authorities could accommodate Kulasegaram's special needs. He could be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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