Should a transsexual who is sentenced to jail be judged as a male or female prisoner?
This unique case was heard in court on February 15 when 33-year-old Jonathan Teo Jun Hao, a male transsexual was sentenced to six months jail and a S$30,000 fine for loanshark harassment.
Removed female reproductive organs
Teo was born a female but underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 2017 to remove his breasts and womb.
However, Teo did not remove his original female genitalia. According to a Feb. 15 Lianhe Wanbao article, Teo has a short stature, short hair, and very fair skin.
Teo's Identification Card also indicates him to be male.
According to Teo's lawyer, females only need to remove their breasts and womb in order for the law to recognise them as males.
However, as Teo still possesses female genitalia, his lawyer Chen Jun Liang told the court that Teo might encounter some difficulty in Changi Prison where male inmates serve out their sentence.
Instead, Chen asked if Teo can serve out his sentence at Changi Women's Prison (now known as Institution A4).
In response, District Judge Hamidah bte Ibrahim spoke candidly that even she was unsure.
Hamidah then requested for Teo's lawyers to give her Teo's medical records and instructed them to check with the Singapore Prison Service on where Teo should go.
The court then adjourned until the afternoon.
Became loanshark runner because he owed money
In October 2017, Teo borrowed a sum of money from loansharks. Unable to pay back on time, Teo's debt grew to S$6,000.
Since he was unable to pay back his debt, Teo agreed to be a loanshark runner. According to Lianhe Zaobao the loanshark would cancel S$300 off Teo's debt for every debtor he harassed.
Teo also helped the loanshark to conduct bank transfers on their behalf. In return, Teo would receive S$450 as weekly payment for his labour.
From Dec. 2017 to April 2018, Teo harassed three debtors and transferred money on behalf of the loanshark. Teo would appear at the debtors houses and work places to catch them unaware.
In one case, Teo approached a 54-year-old Mr Xie at his work place. Teo demanded that Xie pay back S$3000 first and followed the latter to an ATM machine to draw the cash. Teo left after receiving the money.
Because of the debt that Teo owes the loanshark, Chen asked for a jail term that does not exceed six months and a fine that does not exceed S$30,000, as well as no caning.
In his defence, Chen said that Teo took on the loanshark runner job only because he owed the loanshark money. Teo did not pour paint or engage in vandalism, and did not cause any damage to property.
Temporarily sent to Changi Prison
By the afternoon of the same day, the Singapore Prison Service had not arrived at a decision, according to Lianhe Zaobao.
As a result, Teo was sent temporarily to Changi Prison to serve his time until the Singapore Prison Service decides otherwise.
Top image via Singapore Prison Service.
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