Singapore – A sex predator has been targeting minors of different nationalities since he was only 17 years old himself.
According to a report in asiaone.com, Sebastian Lye Chee Weng was finally caught in November 2018, after a 13-year-old girl in America reported him to her guardian. The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was living in Arlington, Texas at the time of the crime.
Lye would befriend his victims on the basis of having common interests like “cosplay” and “anime”. He would then get them to converse with him online and eventually to send him salacious photos and videos of themselves.
He was also able to convince them to do sexual acts for him as he watched through the web camera.
Lye, who is now 26, has since pleaded guilty to one count each of sexual exploitation of a minor and has been sentenced to eight months and two weeks in jail.
On Wednesday (Sept 30), the court heard how Lye managed to lure minors into speaking with him. He would get to know them via online social media platforms that permitted virtual strangers to chat based on common interests. There was also a live video function that allowed them to speak via webcam.
On July 10, 2018, Lye spoke to the American girl on video chat and managed to convince her to reveal herself, even getting her to agree to do certain sexual acts on webcam.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) said: “Unbeknownst to (the victim), the accused recorded video footage of her doing the (sex acts).”
He then told the victim to send him naked photos of herself, to which she originally refused. He then threatened to hack into her computer and send the recorded video he made of her to her family.
Then, according to the DPP, “fearing that the accused would carry out his threats, (the victim) relented and sent Lye at least seven photographs of herself in the nude”. When he harassed her for even more photos, she finally decided to tell her guardian about him.
The guardian got in touch with Lye, asked him who he was and told him to stop getting in touch with the minor.
Lye, however, threatened the guardian that he would release the nude video and pictures of the girl to her friends if the guardian did not allow him to continue or send him more nude photos of herself. This prompted the guardian to report the incident to the Arlington Police Department.
The case was reported to the Singapore Police Force by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Oct 16, 2018. The police managed to track down his Internet Protocol (IP) address. They raided Lye’s home on Nov 14 and managed to arrest him and seize two computers, a tablet and three mobile phones. They managed to extract at least 39 obscene videos recorded from his online chats with a number of unidentified females, many of which were done without consent. Police also found a number of pornographic videos on the devices.
During mitigation, Lye — who did not have a lawyer during his proceedings — told District Judge Ow Yong Tuck Leong that he wanted to seek counselling. The judge said he was glad Lye took the initiative to ask for help.
According to Mr Gregory Vijayendran, who is President of the Law Society and a partner at Rajah & Tann, the case will not likely be extraditable since the offences are not under the Extradition Act.
“A number of factors point towards Singapore as an appropriate jurisdiction to try this case,” he explained, including the fact that Lye was arrested in Singapore. /TISG