SINGAPORE: 2012 has been a year of sex scandals in Singapore.
In April, 44 men were charged with having sex with the same underage girl.
The number of men implicated in the online vice ring case swelled to 51 after some time.
The lack of details in the charges drew barbs.
“How is anybody going to know what he is charged for when you don’t know who the girl is, you do not know what her age is? We just can’t accept the word of the prosecution isn’t it?” said lawyer Subhas Anandan.
“Well, we are going to ask the prosecution, the DPP, to give us further particulars. If they do not give us the further particulars, we will take it up in the High Court.”
This was resolved later when certain details were disclosed to the defence.
As at mid-Dec 2012, more than 15 men have been dealt with.
The first was former principal of Pei Chun Public School, Lee Lip Hong. He pleaded guilty in April, and was sentenced to nine weeks’ jail.
Following him was former executive director of the Singapore Environment Council, Howard Shaw, who was sentenced in July and aborted his appeal.
The saga is far from over as many have claimed trial, so there will be a spillover to 2013.
Outside of courts, the state of affairs was equally dramatic.
An apology came because of the indiscretion of the former Speaker of Parliament, Michael Palmer.
Mr Palmer’s year-long affair with People Association’s (PA) Laura Ong led to his resignation.
He said: “I have resigned to take full responsibility for a grave mistake that I have committed. I had a relationship with a member of the PA staff working in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. While the individual did not work with me directly, Punggol East used to be part of the GRC and continues to work with it. My conduct was improper and it was a serious error of judgement. I have resigned in order to avoid further embarrassment to the PAP and Parliament.”
Former Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong was also expelled from the opposition Workers’ Party in February for alleged extra-marital affairs, nine months after he was elected.
Come January, three heavyweights will be jostling for the spotlight in courts.
Professor Tey Tsun Hang will start the ball rolling with his sex-for-grades trial on 10th January.
Then in January, ex-Civil Defence Force top gun, Peter Lim, will be in court for corruption charges. His trial is slated to end in late February.
In late January, the sex-for-contracts case against former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay, will be mentioned again.
In September, Ng’s corruption trial took Singapore by storm, as he and key prosecution witness Cecilia Sue, gave graphic accounts of their relationship.
The judiciary looks set to get busier in the new year, when City Harvest Church’s six core members return to court, on accusations of misappropriating funds.