Stop media from publishing SG Nasi Lemak Telegram chat admin's face, defence lawyer asks court

Judge says public shaming of perpetrator unavoidable.

Belmont Lay | March 10, 2021, 11:02 PM

One of the administrators of the SG Nasi Lemak Telegram chat group has been sentenced to nine weeks' jail and a S$26,000 fine on March 9.

Liong Tianwei, 39, a father of two, was unemployed at the time of his offences.

He was found with 8,139 obscene photos and 3,083 obscene videos on his devices.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing obscene material, two counts of facilitating the provision of sexual services, and one count of possession of obscene films.

The deputy public prosecutor urged the court to jail Liong for three months and fine him S$26,000.

His defence lawyer said his client's role was to "(upload) to the chat group".

The defence lawyer also said his client did not have money to pay the fine, The Straits Times reported.

The district judge gave a default jail term of six weeks if the fine could not be paid.

Request for court to stop media publishing perpetrator's face

The defence lawyer also asked the judge if she could issue an order to prevent the publication of Liong's face in the media, ST reported.

He justified the request by saying that Liong's young sons might be traumatised seeing their father's picture in the news.

The judge denied the request.

She said that public shaming was not avoidable due to Liong's wrongdoing.

Uncooperative initially

Liong was initially highly uncooperative after he was taken in by police.

He did not want to give the passwords or access codes for the laptop and five phones seized, but he eventually cooperated with the authorities.

His username in SG Nasi Lemak was "Crazy Rich Asian".

He admitted to transmitting pornographic material in the Telegram chat group that was created in November 2018, and had grown to more than 44,000 members at its peak, with 29 admins.

Four suspects believed to be admins or users, including Liong, were arrested by the police in a coordinated operation at 4am on Oct. 14, 2019.

The simultaneous arrests was to seize their devices to preserve vital electronic evidence.

Investigated for other offences

Liong's involvement in other offences came to light after his arrest.

In 2016, Liong became close to a sex worker from China he visited often.

Liong got to know a man, Hua Ge, through the woman.

Hua Ge gave Liong about S$300 to S$800 week to promote content from a vice website that featured sex workers from China.

Liong was to download pictures, posts and videos from the website and repost them on social media platforms.

He did so on Twitter and Telegram.

When the SG Nasi Lemak chat group started, he also posted ads of the sex workers in the chat.

Liong earned an estimated S$11,000 over the years.

He also shared pornographic media in the Telegram chat group.

Hua Ge remains at large.

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