Appeal for lighter sentence dismissed

SINGAPORE - A 24-year-old who sexually abused five children had his appeal for a lighter sentence turned down by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Andrew Loh Soon Aik was a part-time storeman when he abused the children between December 2010 and January 2011.

They were then aged between eight and 10.

During Thursday's hearing, his defence lawyers S. Balamurugan and Rajan Supramaniam, who were appointed by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said their client felt the sentence of 19 years and 24 strokes of the cane was too much.

Instead, he was appealing for a 16-year sentence.

Mr Balamurugan said Loh has actively sought treatment for his condition after being diagnosed with paedophilia, in which he cannot control his sexual urges.

He did not know he had the condition at the time of the offences.

While Loh had not been given medication for his condition yet, his lawyer said he had been told there were drugs available for him to reduce his sexual urges.

During the hearing, Justice V. K. Rajah said that Loh not being able to control his urges towards children was part of the reason he needed to be kept away during his rehabilitation.

"From our side, (children) are the most vulnerable. If they get scarred at an early age, literature has shown that in time, some may become perpetrators themselves," the judge said.

In previous hearings, it was revealed that Loh had been sexually abused when he was four and became sexually curious at a very young age.


He hatched an elaborate scheme to lure children into his flat by setting up a video game club, which offered them cash rewards for doing well in games like Sonic and Pokemon.

Before the children could join the club, they would be subjected to a medical exam where Loh would commit sex acts such as performing oral sex on two of the boys and digitally penetrating an eight-year-old girl.

Justice Rajah and Justice Andrew Phang then questioned whether Loh would get the appropriate sort of treatment for paedophilia while incarcerated.

Justice Phang said: "If prisoners can be treated for this sort of problems (psychiatric disorders like paedophilia) as an illness, it would benefit the greater public."

Justice Chao Hick Tin said the court found that despite this, Loh's sentence was not manifestly long and dismissed his appeal.