Singapore court sentences Ex-Deutsche Bank exec to five-and-a-half years’ jail for promoting overseas sex tours involving minors

Michael Frank Hartung (pictured), who was sentenced to five-and-a-half years' jail, told undercover police officers that he could provide them with young virgin girls. — TODAY pic
Michael Frank Hartung (pictured), who was sentenced to five-and-a-half years' jail, told undercover police officers that he could provide them with young virgin girls. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Sept 7 — For promoting overseas sex tours involving minors, a former senior Deutsche Bank executive and Singapore permanent resident was sentenced to five-and-a-half years’ jail yesterday.

Michael Frank Hartung, who claimed trial on two charges, told undercover police officers that he would provide them with young “virgin girls”. He was convicted of the charges in July. 

The 48-year-old, who was from Germany, was nabbed following two undercover operations which were set up by the police. They had received information that he was involved in deviant sexual activities.

His lawyer, Mr Mohamed Niroze Idroos, told the court that he will be appealing against the conviction and sentence.

While prosecutors argued for his bail to be revoked, District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam allowed him to remain out on an increased bail amount of S$75,000 (RM226,987.50).

In their sentencing submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutors Marshall Lim and Andre Ong noted: “(The sentence imposed) serves as an important signal to the rest of society and indeed the world, that Singapore is not a launch pad for paedophiles intending to visit neighbouring countries for commercial sex with minors. The threat of commercial child exploitation is real and present.”

For distributing information to promote commercial sex with a minor overseas, Hartung could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined for each charge.

He still faces four charges under the Films Act of possessing 245 obscene films and eight uncensored films, which were stood down for the trial. A pre-trial conference will be held on September 18 to deal with the charges.

Chats with potential ‘clients’

Hartung, who has a wife and young daughter, denied during the trial that he intended to plan trips for people to engage in underage sex in the Philippines.

Four undercover officers, whose real names cannot be revealed, posed as potential clients under the aliases of Michael, Paul, Jackson and Frank.

In June 2015, Hartung began chatting with “Jackson” on the Yahoo! online messaging service, before meeting him and “Michael” in person.

They discussed plans to engage in child sex in the Philippines during the meeting, and Hartung told the officers that he would provide six “virgin girls” aged between 14 and 16.

They then agreed to plan a trip there between October 15 and 18 that year.

In early October, Hartung asked his Skype contact if he could provide young girls during that period. When it seemed that his contact could not do so, Hartung ended his communications with “Jackson” and “Michael”. 

In a second undercover operation launched against Hartung, the police found out that he was active on an online portal catering to those interested in deviant sexual practices and lifestyles.

After chatting with him there, two officers from the Volunteer Special Constabulary unit, posing as “Paul” and “Frank”, met him in April 2016.

He gave them advice — for example, that going to Cambodia for sexual services with minors was more dangerous than going to the Philippines. They also discussed expected prices, estimated dates for the trip and payment details.

After that, Hartung did not contact them again to finalise plans for the trip. He was arrested on August 30, 2016.

The police searched his Simei Green condominium and seized 37 items related to his offences but found nothing in his office. — TODAY

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