Online vice ring case: Man jailed for 16 weeks

Online vice ring case: Man jailed for 16 weeks

A man was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail yesterday after a court found him guilty of engaging in commercial sex with an underage social escort, in a high-profile online vice ring case first uncovered in 2011.

Koh Zi Yang, 32, who is employed in his family business, is appealing against his conviction and sentence in the High Court and is out on $20,000 bail pending the appeal.

One of 51 men brought to court two years ago for commercial sex with the minor, Koh was found guilty, after a three-day trial, of paying $650 for the sexual services of the then 17-year-old at Strand Hotel in Bencoolen Street on Dec 23, 2010.

Koh is the 45th person to have been dealt with.

Except for two who were acquitted, most of the others were jailed for between 10 and 12 weeks for similar offences.

The court heard that the minor's pimp, Tang Boon Thiew, 41, had begun operating the online vice ring in 2010 by procuring women to provide escort services to men for varying prices.

He explicitly told them that they were to provide sexual services to customers. If they were agreeable, he would proceed to assign each a working moniker.

Koh did not dispute that he booked the escort's services through Tang, and intended to have sex with her for $650. But he denied having sex with her as he claimed to have had "premature ejaculation".

He said he resorted to engaging social escorts as he had a tendency to ejaculate too early when engaging in sexual intercourse with his wife.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Winston Man argued that the defence mounted by Koh was fabricated and amounted to nothing more than an afterthought at best.

He said Koh had not called any witnesses to substantiate his bare assertion that he tended to ejaculate prematurely.

On the other hand, DPP Man submitted that the minor was a credible witness whose testimony was corroborated by independent evidence and the confessions made by Koh.

She testified that she served between 50 and 80 clients, most of whom engaged her for sexual services.

Said DPP Man in his written arguments: "As such, it is entirely natural that those few who did not engage in sexual intercourse with her stand out in her memory.

"To this end, the minor testified that she was 'very sure' that the accused was not one of the six men who had booked her services through PW5 (Tang) but had ended up not having sexual intercourse with her."

Koh could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined for paid sex with a person under 18.

This article was first published on October 28, 2014.
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