ITE student preyed on boys and stole ez-link card readers

An Institute of Technical Education student was yesterday given 24 months' probation for sexual penetration of a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, stealing ez-link card readers and preventing the course of justice.

A District Court heard yesterday that Tan, 19, committed the sex offences in 2013.

He got to know the first victim, then 13 years old, through a mobile dating application for gay men, sometime in August 2013.

Tan invited the boy to his home in Sengkang.

While they were in his bedroom, Tan asked the boy to perform oral sex on him, and the boy agreed. Between September and October that year, Tan invited the boy to his home again.

This time, he suggested having anal sex, to which the boy again agreed.

Later that year, Tan got to know a second boy through Transport Enthusiasts, a public transport interest group.

Tan invited the boy, then 12, to his home in Sengkang, where Tan masturbated him.

Earlier this year, Tan was also involved in stealing at least two ez-link card readers from buses with an accomplice, Low Chuan Hao, 25.

Low is being dealt with separately.

On Jan 15, Tan and Low boarded SMRT Bus Service 300 from Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange at about 11pm.

As the bus was travelling along its route, Low handed Tan a cutter and an allen key so he could remove the ez-link card reader while Low acted as a lookout. Tan managed to pull the reader out without using any tools and handed it to Low, who put the reader into his haversack.

Later that month, on Jan 27, Tan and Low struck another SMRT bus, Service 192 from Woodlands Bus Interchange, at about 10.20pm.

With Low acting as a lookout, Tan managed to remove the card reader from its holder, before passing it to Low, who kept it in his haversack.

After he was caught for his offences, police raided Tan's home on March 4 and found four ez-link card readers.


Later that month, he met one of the boys he had committed a sex act against and asked that he write a "confession" for the police.

In it, the boy was made to accuse Low of committing the sexual offences, adding that Low forced him to pin the blame on Tan.

Tan's lawyer, Ms Alice Tan of the CLAS Fellowship, told the court that her client is a public transport enthusiast who often volunteers for SMRT community events.

One such instance of this was assisting with crowd control during the SMRT breakdowns earlier this year.

Furthermore, she claimed that Tan had been misled by Low, a security officer.

As for the sexual offences, he had fallen prey to curiosity and was remorseful about what he did.

District Judge Luke Tan noted that since Tan is still young, he was willing to give him a second chance, but he would need the support of his mother. She has been bonded $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

"The only way you can go through (probation) is if you want to go through it. It'll be the worst to fail when you are very close to your goals," the judge said, adding that Tan would be hauled back to court should he breach probation conditions.

On top of having to attend a counselling programme and psychosexual treatment, Tan will have to stay indoors from 10pm to 6am.

This article was first published on October 9, 2015.
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