Star badminton player will plead guilty to sexual offenses against a minor  

Photo: YouTube screengrab

Singapore’s Ashton Chen Yongzhao, who once ranked in the world’s top 50 badminton players, will plead guilty to charges of sexual offenses against a minor.

Mr. Chen, 28, was in criminal court on Monday, June 4, and is scheduled to appear in court again on June 27. He was charged two months ago of a total of six offences, among them having had nonsexual sex with an underage girl. He has since posted bail amounting to S$15,000.

The young woman with whom Mr. Chen was accused of sexual offences was only 13, four years ago, when she purportedly performed oral sex on the badminton player. What kind of relationship that they had, and even how they met, has not been disclosed, but the sexual act is supposed to have occurred in the landing of a staircase in Block 935 Tampines St 91.

They allegedly had sexual intercourse and oral sex again in 2015 and 2016, at times meeting at a carpark in Block 248 Simei Street 2 and at Eastpoint Mall in Simei, in one of the nursing rooms.

Mr. Chen was once ranked number two among singles badminton players in the whole country. He was on the men’s team that won second place in the Southeast Asian Games of 2007, as well as in 2009 and 2011, when the team finished in third place. He retired from badminton in 2014, at which time he was ranked 69th in the world.

Mr. Chen faces a jail sentence of up to 20 years, fines or a caning, should he be convicted of having had consensual sex with a child under 14 years old. Should his conviction be for consensual sex with a child between 14 and 15 years old, he could be looking at 10 years in jail, along with a fine.