Media Credit: Photo (Yahoo News) / Video (YouTube 154thmedia2012) (YouTube ElectricNewPaper)
Posted: Wednesday April 18, 2012 @2:40 p.m. PST
Prominent local newsmaker Howard Shaw was among four additional men that were charged in court on Wednesday for having paid sex with an underaged prostitute.
Aside from Shaw, former UBS top banker and Swiss national Buergin Juerg, ex- teacher Chua Ren Cheng and 49-year-old Edward Whistler Go were also charged.
Prominent in social circles and a well-known advocate of the green movement, Howard is the grandson of Runme Shaw, co-founder of cinema operator Shaw Organisation.
According to a report last year, the former executive director of the Singapore Environment Council has two daughters aged 9 and 11. He graduated in 1995 from Oxford Brookes University in England.
The 41-year-old is among the biggest names tagged in a case that saw public servants, a former school principal and a businessman among the 44 men charged with the same offence in court on Monday.
Based on the charge sheet, Shaw allegedly paid $500 for sex with a girl who is under 18 on 30 October at 3:22pm at Hotel 81 Bencoolen.
Friends of Shaw expressed surprised over the news of the charge. One friend who asked not to be named told Yahoo! Singapore said she was shocked when she heard about it, but then added: “To be fair, it could have been anyone else, even in the high places.”
His current employer Halcyon Agri Corporation, where he is the senior vice president of corporate social responsibility, declined to comment when contacted.
On its website, Halcyon describes itself as an integrated producer and merchandiser of a special grade of rubber, most widely used for making vehicle tyres.
Howard Shaw is not the only high-profile executive to be charged on Wednesday.
SENIOR BANK EXECUTIVE
Juerg, who is former head of operations at UBS Investment Bank in Singapore, allegedly paid $600 and $650 for sex with the girl in Shangri-La Hotel and Mandarin Oriental Hotel on September 2012 and January this year respectively.
Of the four charged on Wednesday, Chua was the only one to plead guilty to the charges.
A former colleague of Chua, who declined to be named, told Yahoo! Singapore that the news took him by surprise.
He said Chua had been a dedicated teacher during their time teaching at Jurong Junior College and that he was very professional in his conduct throughout. He said Chua dressed well and always looked presentable, so the fact he had engaged the services of a prostitute came as a shock, not only to him but their former ex-colleagues too.
A total of 48 men have now been charged with having paid sex with the underaged prostitute, who so far has not been named. They engaged her services, which were advertised on a website, between Sep 2010 and February last year.
Of the 44 charged before Wednesday, all but the ex-principal claimed trial. Those challenging the charges are expected to say they were not aware the girl was a minor, according to ST.
Lee Lip Hong, 39, the former principal of Pei Chun Public School, admitted to two charges of having paid $500 on each of two occasions for sex with the girl at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on Sept 26 and Dec 24, 2010, reported the same paper.
Also charged for allegedly paying $500 for sex with the underage girl on each of four occasion is 45-year-old businessman Foo Kim Meng.
Chia Kok Peng, 38, former senior legal counsel of the National Environmental Agency, and nine public servants are also among those charged.
The website offering the girl’s services was allegedly run by entrepreneur Tang Boon Thiew.
In February, up to 80 people were involved in a major police probe into an online prostitution ring, including an ex-principal and top civil servants.