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SINGAPORE, April 21 — For his third conviction of sexually abusing young boys he had befriended online, Chock Soon Seng was yesterday sentenced to eight years of corrective training and six strokes of the cane.
This means that the 43-year-old Singaporean is unlikely to be given early release from jail for factors such as good behaviour.
Corrective training is a more serious form of imprisonment imposed when a court finds an offender needs training of a corrective character for a substantial period. It usually lasts between five and 14 years.
While working as a freelance tutor in 2018, he exploited three teenage boys on gay dating application Grindr and classified advertising site Locanto.
The authorities also found 52 obscene films on his laptop after arresting him in August 2019. He has been in remand since.
He had already been jailed twice for similar offences — the first time in 2010, when he was a primary school teacher, and again in 2014.
He pleaded guilty last month to four charges of sexually penetrating a minor. Another 14 charges, including sexual exploitation of a young person and possession of obscene films, were taken into consideration for sentencing,
Before his arrest, Chock gave Chinese tuition lessons to students from Primary 5 to Secondary 4.
In 2016, he started using apps such as Grindr and Locanto to meet other gay men for sex. He would arrange these meetings using messaging app WhatsApp and social network Instagram, periodically deleting messages that others sent him.
In April 2018, he befriended a 13-year-old boy through GrinDr The boy told him that he was in Primary 6.
They took their conversation to Instagram and agreed to meet to perform sexual acts on each other.
The boy later blocked Chock from contacting him, after he became annoyed at Chock’s request for his school’s Primary 6 Higher Chinese examination papers. Court documents did not reveal why Chock wanted them.
His crimes came to light only more than a year later, in June 2019, when the boy’s mother found conversations of a sexual nature on his phone. She reported the matter to the authorities on the advice of his school.
At the same time that Chock met his first victim, he responded to a 15-year-old boy’s Locanto advertisement. The teenager stated that he was interested in looking for women.
When the boy told Chock that he was not interested in meeting him, Chock persuaded him to experiment with homosexual activities, saying it was “normal for straight men to perform sexual acts on one another”, the court heard.
Chock also told him that it was difficult for the boy to find women and offered to pay the boy to perform sexual acts. He agreed to meet Chock.
On April 23, 2018, Chock went to the boy’s home and they engaged in sexual acts.
He gave the boy a sum that was lower than what had been agreed, saying that he had yet to receive his salary.
The boy later ignored Chock’s WhatsApp messages and blocked him.
Based on court documents, Chock kissed a third victim’s cheek and tried to remove the 14-year-old’s underwear in June 2019.
After his arrest, Chock underwent a psychiatric assessment at Changi Prison’s Complex Medical Centre, where he was found not to be suffering from any mental illness at the time of his crimes. He was also not of unsound mind.
For sexual penetration of a minor under 14, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years, and caned or fined.
For sexual penetration of a minor under 16, Chock could have been jailed for up to 10 years or fined, or punished with both. — TODAY