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Prive Group CEO pleads guilty to punching 13-year-old boy and asking him obscene questions about his genitals

SINGAPORE — The chief executive officer of hospitality and food and beverage firm, The Prive Group, admitted on Thursday (Oct 21) to asking a 13-year-old boy obscene questions about his private parts before punching the teenager on the head while they were inside a lift at a shopping centre.

Prive Group CEO pleads guilty to punching 13-year-old boy and asking him obscene questions about his genitals

Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha, 44, attacked the victim in a mall lift, causing significant psychological harm to the boy who still fears being in a lift.

  • Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha pleaded guilty to a charge each of voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally causing alarm to a 13-year-old boy
  • The incident has caused significant psychological harm on the boy, said the prosecutor
  • Vu Han will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in December

 

SINGAPORE — The chief executive officer of hospitality and food and beverage firm, The Prive Group, admitted on Thursday (Oct 21) to asking a 13-year-old boy obscene questions about his private parts before punching the teenager on the head while they were inside a lift at a shopping centre.

Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha, a 44-year-old French national, pleaded guilty in a district court to a charge each of voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally causing alarm to the boy.

The court heard that the incident happened on Nov 22, 2019 at around 8.15pm at the Parklane Shopping Mall along Selegie Road.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Goh Yong Ngee said Vu Han was intoxicated when he entered the mall’s lift together with another man, Mr Lai Wing Chiew, 41.

Both the victim and his 12-year-old brother were in the lift when the two men entered.

Neither of the boys can be named as a gag order has been imposed by the courts to protect their identities.

The court heard that Vu Han asked the victim whether he had hair on his private parts. When the victim replied “no”, Vu Han asked the boy if he wanted to see his private parts.

When the boy again said “no”, Vu Han responded by saying he could arrange for a sexual act to be performed on the boy.

DPP Goh said the victim was “alarmed by the insults” and said no to Vu Han yet again, which prompted the man to punch the boy on the head.

The impact from the blow caused the boy to fall backwards and hit his arm against a handrail in the lift.

Vu Han then proceeded to hurl a string of vulgarities at the boy.

“Fearing for his safety, the victim grabbed the accused’s hands to prevent him from hitting him again,” said DPP Goh.

“The accused then said, ‘You want to challenge me? You have no hair on your (private parts) why do you want to challenge me?’” 

Mr Lai tried to hold Vu Han back and pushed him out of the lift when it reached the ground floor.

The court heard that Vu Han refused to leave and used his foot to stop the lift doors from closing so he could slap the 13-year-old’s face.

A 36-year-old man, Mr Daryl Lai, witnessed the assault while he was sitting at a cafe nearby and went forward to find out what was happening before he detained Vu Han and called the police.

While the attack had only left bruises on the boy’s temple and arm, DPP Goh noted that it had caused significant psychological harm, so much so that the boy still fears being in a lift. 

Vu Han’s defence lawyer, Ms Ee-von Teh of Infinitus Law Corporation, said her client had been “facing a series of unique circumstances in his personal and professional life”.

Aside from having separated from his common-law wife, Ms Teh said he also had to cope with the pressure of his business and being a single parent.

Ms Teh said Vu Han was also experiencing “uncharacteristic changes in the way his body functions”. While she did not elaborate further on this point, she said he had also been worried and irritable on the day of the incident. 

She added that the attack on the boy was prompted by something “irksome” the teenager had said, though Vu Han could not recall what it was. Ms Teh said Vu Han had been talking to Mr Lai about vice-related activities at the mall at the time.

In response, DPP Goh clarified the attack was unprovoked and the boy had not said anything to Vu Han.

Ms Teh reiterated her client’s position that he heard the victim say something.

In any case, Ms Teh said the incident had “precipitated reflection” on the part of her client.

She added that the accused had subsequently sought psychiatric help and was initially diagnosed with adjustment disorder.

He later sought treatment at the Institute of Mental Health where he was found to be suffering from bipolar disorder.

Ms Teh said her client was likely experiencing a manic episode at the time of the offences.

DPP Goh later said that the medical report that Ms Teh was relying on did not show how Vu Han’s mental condition had contributed to the offence.

In response to TODAY’s queries, The Prive Group said Vu Han remains its CEO, and is currently actively taking care of the group and helping it stay afloat amidst the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

“Mr Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha remains a valuable member of our management team and has our full and unwavering support. The case is still ongoing and we have been advised not to comment on the case,” it said.

Vu Han will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in December.

Anyone found guilty of causing alarm under the Protection from Harassment Act is liable to be punished with a fine of up to S$5,000 or jailed up to six months, or both.

The punishment for voluntarily causing hurt is jail term of up to two years, or a fine of up to S$5,000 or both.

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crime court obscene questions The Prive Group voluntarily causing hurt

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