SINGAPORE, March 10 — A 39-year-old man yesterday became the first administrator of sex-themed Telegram chat group “SG Nasi Lemak” to be dealt with in court.
Liong Tianwei, a married father of two, was sentenced in a district court to nine weeks’ jail and a fine of S$26,000 (RM79,700). He had posted advertisements for sex workers on the chat group.
When police raided his home in October 2019, they found more than 11,000 obscene images and videos on his electronic devices.
The chat group is no longer accessible but had more than 44,000 members when it was still active. Several women had called out the group after discovering their photos were shared there.
Between March 15 and Octobe 3 in 2019, the police received 31 reports islandwide and arrested Liong, who was self-employed, with three others.
Two of them have been sentenced to probation for distributing obscene material in the group, while the case of another administrator — Leonard Teo Min Xuan — is pending.
Liong pleaded guilty yesterday to six charges in total, including two under the Women’s Charter as well as possession and transmission of obscene material. Eight other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Chat group created in November 2018
The court heard that 29 members of SG Nasi Lemak, which was created in November 2018, had administrative rights. Liong used the moniker “Crazy Rich Asian” in the group.
He had developed a close relationship with a sex worker from China in 2016, whom he frequented often.
She then introduced him to another China national known as Hua Ge, who asked Liong to help him promote female China sex workers featured on a vice website known as “sex727”.
Liong agreed, downloading pictures, posts and videos from the website to repost on various social media platforms.
Between 2016 and when he was arrested, he posted advertisements of the women on a Twitter account. He mainly used his Asus laptop to download the material, and used his Samsung mobile phone to retweet or check responses to the Twitter posts.
When the SG Nasi Lemak chat group was formed, he posted advertisements there with his iPhone.
He received weekly payments in cash for his services, ranging from S$300 to S$800, collected from different mainland China women.
At about 4am on October 14, 2019, the police conducted a coordinated operation. Liong was arrested at his Marine Parade residence and his electronic devices were seized.
He was highly uncooperative at first and refused to provide passwords or access codes for the devices.
When his case was referred to the Criminal Investigation Department’s Specialised Crime Branch, he gradually became more forthcoming and eventually provided the code for his Telegram account, in order to access SG Nasi Lemak.
Judge denies gag order
In mitigation, Liong’s lawyer RS Bajwa said that he had merely uploaded obscene material “along with everyone else in the group”.
“He shouldn’t have done it,” the lawyer acknowledged.
He also later asked the court to grant a gag order preventing the media from publishing Liong’s photograph.
Liong’s wife had asked for this, Mr Bajwa said, because the couple have two young sons aged nine and 11 who are “very impressionable” and would be “very embarrassed and ridiculed if he was identified”. This was despite his photo already having been published recently.
“A gag order is to protect young children, usually a victim. In this case, it’s to protect his own children from what he has done,” Mr Bajwa added.
While Deputy Public Prosecutor Huo Jiongrui initially did not object, he clarified that there was no legal authority to prevent Liong’s photo from being published.
District Judge Janet Wang agreed, telling the court: “Unfortunately, the risk of embarrassment or public shaming is an inevitable consequence of the accused’s wrongdoing.” — TODAY