Underage sex scandal: 4 more to plead guilty

Pyi Kyaw Han, 31, (right) is one of the 48 charged so far for having sex with a minor.

Four more of the 48 men charged with having sex with an underage prostitute intend to plead guilty.

Those who intend to do so are: Louis Lee Lip Kian, 33; Chiang Meng Chuan, 31; Wilson Oei, 25; and Pyi Kway Han, 31.

Their lawyers revealed this to reporters outside a district court yesterday. They were among at least 25 lawyers, representing 45 of the men, who were present for criminal case-discovery conferences. Former head of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) Howard Shaw, 41, and Swiss national Juerg Buergin, 41, and their lawyers were not present.

Former Pei Chun Public School principal Lee Lip Hong, 39, who was also charged, pleaded guilty and was convicted on April 27.

He was released from prison last Saturday after serving six weeks of his nine-week sentence, and paid tribute to his wife for standing by him.

According to court documents, the men involved had hired the girl, who is now above 18 but has her identity protected by a gag order, through her alleged pimp, Tang Boon Thiew, between September 2010 and February last year.

Of the four who have indicated that they intend to plead guilty, two - Oei and Chiang - are scheduled to appear in court on June 27, while Lee and Pyi are due back on July 9 and 12, respectively.

Pyi and Chiang face two charges each, while Lee and Oei each face one charge.

The remaining 41 men whose lawyers appeared in court yesterday are scheduled to be back in court on dates scheduled from July 2 to 16. Speaking outside the courthouse, lawyer Amolat Singh, who is representing Lee, said that his client intends to plead guilty as he "wants to leave this sorry state behind him and move on with life".

Lawyer Subhas Anandan, who represents 10 of the accused men, told reporters that all of his clients intend to claim trial. He said that he had objected to the gag order placed to protect the identity of the underage girl, but the court upheld its decision.

"I objected to it on the basis that provisions of the law do not protect people like her, because she is not a victim of rape or molestation," he said.

He added that he respects the decision of the court, even if he might not agree with it.

samboh@sph.com.sg


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