SINGAPORE (AFP) – Forty-four men including a school principal, a naval officer and a senior civil servant have appeared in court accused of having sex with an underage prostitute, local media reported Tuesday, April 17.
The men, who also included business and finance professionals, were charged after being nabbed late last year in the biggest police sting operation since laws against underage prostitution were toughened in 2008, the reports said.
While prostitution is legal in Singapore, paying for sex with a girl under the age of 18 is a crime punishable by up to seven years in jail.
The list of the suspects, all but three of them Singaporean citizens, was published in full by the mainstream media, along with pictures of some of the men who appeared in various forms of disguise at a trial court on Monday.
Only one, a former elementary school principal who resigned abruptly last year, said outright that he intended to plead guilty, the Straits Times said.
The accused include the former head of strategic planning at the Police Training Command, a former senior legal counsel at the environment agency and a naval officer, the reports said.
The men are alleged to have paid from Sg$450-Sg$850 ($360-$680) for each sex session with the girl between September 2010 and February 2011, when she was still under 18. Her services were advertised on a now defunct sex website. – Agence France-Presse