Jail for S'pore ICQ blackmailer

An engineering student, who started chatting with a 15-year-old girl on ICQ and then let the conversation degenerate into threats to expose her promiscuous lifestyle unless she let him be her pimp, has been sentenced to a year's jail.

SINGAPORE--An engineering student, who started chatting with a 15-year-old girl on ICQ and then let the conversation degenerate into threats to expose her promiscuous lifestyle unless she let him be her pimp, has been sentenced to a year's jail.

Two other men, who met the same girl via a chatroom and had sex with her, also got a year each.

Tay We-Jin's case was the first instance of online intimidation heard by local courts. The Nanyang Technological University student had got acquainted with the girl online. Soon, she was sharing intimate details about her life, including her sexual history.

Tay asked her for sex, and when she turned him down, he started threatening to tell her family and school, and told her he would find customers for her.

The threats were made from October 27 to 31 last year, and drove the girl to report the matter to the police.

The Straits Times reported that District Judge Siva Shanmugam said aggravating factors warranted Tay's deterrent sentence, which was passed on Friday. Tay could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

The girl's police report on Tay led to the arrest of three other men who had met her in a chatroom, and had sex with her. One of them, Tay Kim Kuan, was given nine months in jail, which was increased to a year, with a S$10,000 fine, on appeal. Chief Justice Yong Pung How said the deterrent sentence was necessary to send out a stern message to sexual predators who used the Internet to contact young girls.

Also on Friday, Birinus Alphonso Chan Tek Keng, a photojournalist with the now-defunct Project Eyeball newspaper, and James Yong Wei Hoe, a full-time national serviceman, received jail terms of a year each.

It is understood that other men are also being investigated.

The maximum penalty for sex with an girl below 16 is five years, and a S$10,000 fine.

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