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SINGAPORE — A fake social escort agent who cheated women into having sex with him and appealed against his three-and-a-half year jail sentence addressed the judge in a tearful plea at the High Court on Friday (24 September).
After Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon questioned a psychiatric report produced by the defence in support of a shorter jail sentence, De Beers Wong Tian Jun spoke up and said the contents in the report were genuine. He added that speaking to the doctor made him realise why he made “such a bad decision”.
Wong was represented by lawyer Riko Isaac Chua, who submitted a psychiatric report on his client’s state of mind at the time of the offences to ask for a lower sentence.
The 40-year-old Singaporean had cheated at least 11 women, aged 18 to 24, between April 2015 and January 2016.
As he could not afford to pay for sex, he came up with the idea to advertise on Locanto for “sugar babes” in 2015 and passed himself off as an agent who connected wealthy clients with his sugar babies.
He told the women who contacted him that they had to engage in sexual activity with him or provide him with sexually explicit photographs or videos of themselves in order to evaluate their suitability for his clients. He offered them $8,000 to $24,000 a month but no such clients existed.
Pointing to Wong's psychiatric report, CJ Menon said on Friday that Wong was only assessed some five years after the offences were committed. The report lacked “the slightest explanation” about how the psychiatrist was able to “retrospectively determine” Wong’s condition back then, said the CJ.
“I can’t see anywhere in the report how (the psychiatrist) was able to come to the view that this was the case at that time,” said the judge.
CJ Menon also expressed concern that the psychiatrist did not have sight of the statement of facts produced during Wong’s plead guilty mention, but relied on Wong’s account. This was “hardly satisfactory” said the judge.
In reply, Chua said that his team of lawyers did not think of sending the psychiatrist the statement of facts as they had felt it was sufficient for their psychiatrist to hear from Wong, together with the corroboration of Wong’s counsellor.
As to Wong’s report, Chua said that he felt there was “sufficient reasoning”, such as how the psychiatrist referred to Wong’s mental state at the time of the offences. The lawyer also pointed to Wong’s remorse and his clean record. “He was previously grassroots chairman of SengKang West and his only antecedent was back in 1998 for theft,” said Chua.
CJ Menon then noted how Wong seemed to blame others in his documents, such as his father, ex-wife and and in-laws. “And in certain respects he even seemed to suggest that the victims had it coming because they were in this for whatever reasons they were in,” said the judge.
This did not show a person who admitted to his mistakes and how reprehensibly he had acted, the judge added, pointing out that Wong had replied particularly cruelly to a victim in his exchanges with her.
At this point, Wong, who was present in court asked to address the CJ, who appeared via zoom in court.
Wong said in an emotional voice, “I’m not saying I didn’t do anything wrong… when I went to meet the doctor… it was then I realised the amount of stress and depression which I was going through at the time.
“In no way am I blaming my in-laws, father or ex-wife for what I went through in that period of time but it was only after visiting the doctor that I realised why I made such an unsound decision then. Because...I’ve always been trying to do good and it was only after speaking to counsellor did I realise why I made such a wrong bad decision at that time.
“Given I have a new family, I have my son… I really hope you see that the report is as genuine as it is and it is not something to come up with stories to bluff or cheat anyone.”
Wong, who was breathing heavily throughout his speech, added that he had had a stroke a few months ago.
Chua told CJ Menon that Wong’s fiancee also wanted to speak but was disallowed by the judge, who did not see how she could contribute.
CJ Menon reserved judgement to be given at a later date.
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