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Chin Khai Shong, who met the 15-year-old victim on a dating app, was jailed for seven months on August 11, 2021. — TODAY file pic
Chin Khai Shong, who met the 15-year-old victim on a dating app, was jailed for seven months on August 11, 2021. — TODAY file pic

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SINGAPORE, Aug 12 — A 43-year-old man caught by police officers in the midst of a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy at a staircase landing was jailed for seven months yesterday (August 11) for committing an obscene act with a minor.

Chin Khai Shong, a Singaporean, had got to know the boy in January 2019 through gay mobile dating app Blued. They had agreed to meet up for sex at about 7pm the next day at a staircase of a public housing block.

After chatting and touching each other over their clothing for about an hour, the boy went home to get a bottle of baby oil and Vaseline and returned to the staircase.

Using the lubricants, they began engaging in a sexual act, but were interrupted shortly after by two police officers.

Court documents did not state how the police became aware of the offence.

Chin had originally claimed trial to his charges but pleaded guilty midway during his trial after the charges were amended.

He was convicted of one charge of committing an obscene act with a minor under the Children and Young Persons Act, with another similar charge taken into consideration during sentencing.

He originally faced a charge of attempted sexual penetration of a person under 16, and another of procuring the commission of an obscene act by a young person.

Lawyer: Victim lied about age

Chin’s lawyer Alfred Dodwell argued that the teenager was not “particularly vulnerable” and was only a few months shy of turning 16 years old, the legal age of consent in Singapore.

Dodwell added that the acts were consensual. “(The victim) was confident in his chat, confidently planning alongside Khai Shong for the whole meetup and the acts to follow,” he said in Chin’s mitigation plea.

Blued, the dating app, also did not allow people under 17 years old to sign up as users, which meant that the victim had lied about his age to the app, the lawyer added.

Dodwell added that the victim had also told Chin that he was in polytechnic. He had also told Chin that he was 18 years old, before later saying that he was joking and that he was 16 years old.

“To put it plainly, if it was not Khai Shong, (the victim) would have met Alan, Tom or Xander, or any other men, younger or older to satisfy his curiosity,” Dodwell said.

“So, Khai Shong was not specifically targeting young men, or boys under 16. It just happened that (the victim) was underaged.”

Chin had worked for the People’s Association since 2011, but lost his job because of the charges he was facing.

“Khai Shong admits to being bisexual,” Dodwell added. “We would state humbly that it is no crime to be bisexual nor to seek to want to explore one’s bisexuality with other likeminded person(s).”

Dodwell said that before they engaged in the sexual act, Chin had told the victim that he wanted to leave because the victim “looked very different from his pictures”.

But Dodwell said that the victim asked Chin to stay longer. Not wanting to seem rude and also because he wanted a sexual release, Chin decided to stay.

Judge: Victim’s role ‘not entirely passive’

In sentencing Chin, District Judge Luke Tan noted that Chin had similarly lied about his age and claimed to be 25 years old. Hence, Chin must have known that people are not always honest about their age on the app.

Regardless, the judge ruled that the victim “did not play an entirely passive role in the entire affair”.

The seven months’ jail that Chin was sentenced to was one month less than what the prosecution had sought.

For committing an obscene act with a child or young person, Chin could have been fined up to S$10,000 (RM31,240) or jailed for up to five years or punished with both. ― TODAY

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