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Judicial CP - February 2003

Straits Times, Singapore, 5 February 2003

23 years' jail, 24 strokes for Internet sex fiend

Polytechnic graduate, 26, knew that the Internet chatroom was fertile ground for preying on teen victims, says judge

By Elena Chong
Court Correspondent

AN ASSISTANT engineer who used an Internet chatroom to find young girls to rape, was yesterday sentenced to 23 years' jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.

Raymond Pok, 26, posed as a heartbroken teenager and posted messages on Teen Channel, offering to pay any girl who would be his temporary girlfriend.

Three girls took up his offer.

The first was a 14-year-old Secondary 3 student he paid $400 to after having sex with her on a staircase landing at a Yishun Housing Board block in 1999.

She had sex with him several times between then and December 2000, as well as oral and anal sex, before she ended their 'boyfriend-girlfriend' relationship.

The second girl was 14 and a virgin. He raped her at a deserted multi-storey carpark at Jurong West Street 62 in broad daylight, in March last year.

He raped her on three more occasions at a Joo Chiat hotel, after luring her there on the pretext of returning naked photographs he claimed to have taken of her during the first encounter.

He also gave her chlamydia, a sexually-transmitted disease that can lead to infertility.

The third victim was 13 and also a virgin. Pok raped her in March last year at the same Jurong carpark that he took his other victim, and filmed the entire act.

He used the images to blackmail the girl into meeting him again. Instead, she went to the police and Pok's days as a serial sex offender came to an abrupt end.

Sentencing the short, thin, bespectacled man yesterday, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said Pok knew the Internet chatroom was very fertile ground for his exploits.

'His use of trickery and threats show him to be a man who understands the psyche of young girls quite well.

'He first used money to lure the young girls out and then resorted to blackmail to attempt to have them as his virtual sex slaves,' he said.

'In order to do all this, there had to be forward planning. Where the third girl was concerned, he went to the very first rendezvous prepared with a video camera.'

Of the victims, the judge said they were 'perhaps a little too precocious for their own good'.

'At any rate, the precocity of their foolish actions is completely outmatched by the atrocity of the accused's fiendish acts,' he added.

Judge Tay also referred to Pok's behaviour while he was serving his national service.

Pok was court martialled in December 2001 for trying to peep at a woman in a toilet, and for searching a woman officer's lockers for undergarments.

Those offences indicated that Pok could be a menace to females in general, the judge said.

Pok had pleaded guilty late last month to two charges of rape, one of statutory rape, two charges of unnatural sex and one of having sex with an underage girl. Three other charges were considered.

At the last hearing, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng described Pok as a highly-resourceful sex offender who took advantage of his victims' naivety in order to feed his perverse sexual appetite.

Pleading for leniency yesterday, his lawyer, Mr Sadique Marican, said that Pok had been forthright in his intentions when he communicated with the girls on the Internet.

The girls, he said, knew that there was going to be some kind of physical contact, and had even followed Pok to a multi-storey carpark when at all times, they could have refused him and left.

Pok was described as a good, responsible and motivated student when he did his diploma in electronics, computer and control engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic.

His former employer described him as a hard worker and a quick learner who was always willing to take on increased responsibility.

Pok's two sisters were not in the High Court yesterday. But his mother, a production operator, and father, an SBS bus driver, sat red-eyed through the sentencing.

Both were seen crying after their only son was led away to begin his 23-year jail term.

Copyright @ 2003 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

The New Paper, Singapore, 19 February 2003

Nabbed for using fake passport at Changi

By Arul John

WHEN Ken Moren walked into Changi Airport on Jan 20, he may not have known a few things.

There were dogs that could smell out all kinds of things from explosives to drugs.

And there were specially designed x-ray machines.

And he certainly did not know how thorough the screening of passports had become since the Sept 11 terrorist attacks and JI sweep.

The Bahamas national calmly walked to the counter and handed over his passport.

He wanted to go to New Zealand.

But an alert immigration officer noticed that the passport looked unusual and checked further. He saw it had been tampered with and Moren was arrested.

It was a stolen passport. He had changed the photograph on the New Zealand passport to his own.

Two days later, he was charged in court with illegal entry and for producing a tampered passport to an immigration officer.

He was sentenced to one month's jail and four strokes of the cane.

Moren had learnt the hard way.

And things are going to get tougher.


From April 1, Customs and Immigration will merge to form the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). It will have 3,000 officers under new commissioner Lock Wai Han, currently police director of planning and organisation.

The ICA will act as a single command post for the security of Singapore's checkpoints against undesirable persons and goods.

'This will ensure a closely coordinated, quick and effective response against any security threats or crises. Singapore Immigration and Registration will continue to remain vigilant in our checks on passengers and vehicles at all checkpoints,' said a spokesman.


For illegal entry, Moren could have been jailed up to six months, given at least three strokes of the cane or fined up to $6,000.

He could have been jailed up to seven years and fined for forging the passport.

Copyright 2003 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

Straits Times, Singapore, 20 February 2003

Brothers jailed for bid to extort $10m from drug giant

A CASUAL chit-chat between two brothers in January last year turned into a discussion on how to extort US$6 million ($10.5 million) when one man told the other that he had seen a colleague involved in a shady deal.

It's jail and caning for brothers Benjamin (top) and Melvin (above) for trying to extort money from Serono with the help of Melvin's wife Xu, who also has been jailed.

At the get-together at Suntec City, Benjamin Tan Bun Heng, 34, told his brother Melvin Tan Bun Leong, 29, that he had seen the general manager of his company's China office give a bribe to a Chinese health official.

That was when Melvin, a businessman, suggested asking the company, international pharmaceutical giant Serono, for money in exchange for their silence. Benjamin was then Serono Singapore's IT manager.

Yesterday, a district court sentenced Benjamin to 18 months' jail and three strokes of the cane for conspiring to extort money from Serono.

Two weeks ago, his brother Melvin was sentenced to 21 months' jail and six strokes of the cane for his part in the plot.

On the same day, Melvin's wife, Apple Xu Xiaohong, a 27-year-old Chinese national, was jailed for 20 months for helping him.

The two men had met to discuss a business venture they had started in China, when the talk turned to extortion.

After finding out more from his brother about his employer, Melvin crafted a letter which he later sent, on Jan 26 last year, to Serono International, the company's parent in Geneva, Switzerland.

In it, he wrote that its products had failed tests in China, but were nonetheless sold there because the general manager was giving bribes.

He demanded that US$6 million be remitted to a bank account in China. If this was not done, he said, he would publicise what had taken place to the authorities, the media and a competitor.

Serono International did not pay up.

The next month, while he was in China, Melvin sent out e-mail from addresses he had created in cybercafes there, repeating his threats and demands to Mr Tai Cheong Hui, Serono's vice-president in charge of the Asia-Pacific region.

When he returned to Singapore, he asked his wife Xu to make threatening phone calls to Mr Tai.

Unknown to her, the conversations were being recorded. The extortion attempts had also been reported to the police in Singapore and Switzerland.

The couple were arrested in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel here on March 1 last year. Benjamin was caught later that day.

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Copyright Colin Farrell 2003
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