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He asked for a shorter jail term after cheating women for sex. Chief Justice doubles his sentence instead

SINGAPORE — The Chief Justice of Singapore has thrown out an appeal by a man who wanted a shorter jail sentence, after he was convicted of tricking 11 victims into giving him free sex while posing as an agent for rich "sugar daddies".

He asked for a shorter jail term after cheating women for sex. Chief Justice doubles his sentence instead

De Beers Wong Tian Jun (pictured), a Singaporean, had been given his original sentence in April 2021 after he pleaded guilty the month before to 10 charges of cheating, criminal intimidation and making an obscene film.

  • De Beers Wong Tian Jun jail term was increased from 3.5 years to eight years and five months
  • Wong had appealed to get his earlier sentence lowered
  • Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon warned him at the start of the appeal that he might enhance the sentence
  • Delivering his judgement, Chief Justice Menon said Wong’s behaviour had placed him in the “very highest range of both harm and culpability”

 

SINGAPORE — The Chief Justice of Singapore has thrown out an appeal by a man who wanted a shorter jail sentence, after he was convicted of tricking 11 victims into giving him free sex while  posing as an agent for rich "sugar daddies".

Instead, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon more than doubled De Beers Wong Tian Jun’s jail sentence on Wednesday (Dec 1) from 3.5 years to eight years and five months. The previous fine of S$20,000 remains unchanged.

Wong, a Singaporean now aged 39, was initially sentenced on April 20 after he pleaded guilty the month before to 10 charges of cheating, criminal intimidation and making an obscene film.

On Sept 24, he tried to appeal for a shorter jail term.

Previous media reports stated that Wong had deceived his victims between April 2015 and January 2016.

Unable to afford the prices listed in online sex advertisements, Wong hatched a plan, putting out his own advertisement to trick women into giving him free sex and nude photographs.

He claimed to be a freelance agent with wealthy clients willing to pay escorts up to S$20,000 a month for sexual services.

He told the women that in order for these clients to determine their suitability for such “sugar daddy” arrangements, they had to send him their nude photographs, have their nude photos taken or have sex with him. He also filmed some of the sex acts.

In all, he deceived at least 11 victims aged between 18 and 24. One began suffering anxiety attacks after they met.

‘BEREFT OF REMORSE’

In delivering his judgement on Wednesday, Chief Justice Menon said that at the hearing of the appeal, he had specifically informed the parties involved in the case that it was possible he might enhance the sentence, even though prosecution had not argued for a higher sentence.

He said that having examined all the facts and circumstances, he was satisfied that Wong’s behaviour had placed him in the “very highest range of both harm and culpability”.

He also said that Wong had procured unprotected penetrative sex with many victims over an extended period of time, and did so in a manner that was “brazenly exploitative and bereft of remorse”.

Wong’s offending demonstrated a cynical premediation and he had concocted a “web of lies in which to ensnare his victims”.

He added that Wong’s offence of cheating to procure sex are “exceptionally serious, and could in fact have been prosecuted as rape”.

“There was no doubt in my mind that the appellant's behaviour warrants the highest bracket of sentencing starting points.”

It should not be assumed that cases where the offender has pleaded guilty, as Wong did, should automatically have a lower sentence, Chief Justice Menon said.

“There is little mitigating value in pleading guilty when the proverbial game is up.”

PSYCHIATRIC REPORT UNHELPFUL

Turning to a psychiatric report that had been submitted by Wong’s lawyers, Chief Justice Menon said that it “could not, even with the utmost charity, be viewed as an expert report”.

Broadly, the psychiatric report concluded that Wong was suffering from an adjustment disorder with depressive symptoms at the time of the offences and it suggested that the symptoms were “likely to have contributed to his offending behaviour”.

Chief Justice Menon took issue with the report for two reasons.

First, he noted that the report itself acknowledges that it is predicated entirely on the truthfulness of the information Wong provided.

“This is problematic because as it turns out, the account the appellant provided was riven with falsehoods, which go towards (the psychiatrist’s) specific conclusions.”

Wong persisted in lying to the psychiatrist about wanting to “refer the rest (of the girls he met) to his clients”, when there were never any “clients” at all to speak of.

Second, he noted Wong consulted the psychiatrist only at the end of 2020, more than four years after the time of the offences.

There was no reasoning in the psychiatric report explaining how the psychiatrist was able to extrapolate his conclusions, based on consultations held in 2020, as to what Wong was suffering from some five years before.

“In sum, the psychiatric evidence relied on by the appellant is wholly unhelpful. There was nothing in the psychiatric report that warrants any weight being placed on it,” he said.

He granted Wong’s request to start his sentence on Jan 10 next year, which will give him time to attend medical appointments for a stroke he suffered earlier this year. 

For each cheating charge, Wong could have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or punished with both.

For criminal intimidation, he could have been jailed for up to two years or fined, or both.

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