Pilot becomes 31st man jailed for sex with minor

SINGAPORE — A commercial pilot yesterday became the 31st man to be jailed in connection with an online vice ring case involving a 17-year-old girl.

Joseph Ong Chee Wah, 33, was jailed 12 weeks for having paid sex with the underage escort.

Ong — who is married with one young child and whose wife is pregnant — is one of 51 men who were charged in 2012 over the case involving the underage girl.

The court heard that some time in early 2011, Ong came across a website that offered sexual services by escorts and booked the girl’s services through her pimp, Tang Boon Thiew.

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The website said the girl was an 18-year-old polytechnic student.

On Jan 23, 2011, Ong met her at the Strand Hotel on Bencoolen Street and paid her S$630 for her services.

In asking for a 12-week sentence, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy pointed out that Ong had not taken steps to verify the girl’s age when he met her.

She also noted that as this was not the first time Ong had engaged in paid sexual intercourse with escorts, he should have taken greater care in verifying the girl’s age.

In response, Ong’s defence counsel Ho Lifen said her client felt he did not have the authority to ask the girl for identification to verify her age.

He also thought the website looked professional and did not expect it to offer services by minors.

Ms Ho added that her client was remorseful about what he had done.

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

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