Screen capture from Stomp: Click here (Copyright: Straits Times)
That was what I thought until I had the good fortune of talking to a friend (I'm not sure if he would like his name to be mentioned, so I'll err on the side of caution and exclude his name for the time being). He was a police officer in the US and he has considerable experience in tracking down and arresting paedophiles. He told me something that changed my perspective altogether. Whatever trickle of sympathy I had for the men has now evaporated. They should be dealt with according to the full extent of the law if Singapore wants to avoid being seen as a country that is ambivalent about the problem of paedophile crimes.
You see, most of us inexperienced lay people know nothing about the world of prostitution. We think it's highly probable that these men were mistaken about the age of the girl. But that's not the situation in real life. In the world of prostitutes and pimps, an underage girl fetches a better price. The newspapers have disclosed that these men paid in the region of S$500.00 for sex with the underage girl. When I first read that, I thought that must have been the going rate for a prostitute but I was wrong! My friend tells me that the average prostitute charges in the region of S$50.00 in Singapore. What these men paid was 10 times the fee that one normally pays for a prostitute.
I know nothing about the world of prostitutes but I'm familiar with bicycles. Supposing I want to buy an entry level Trek mountainbike (with low end parts) and I'm asked to pay S$6,000.00. I'd hit the roof. That's because for that amount of money, I should be getting a high-end bike. I shouldn't pay more than S$600.00.
Clients of prostitutes are no different. They know how much to pay for an average adult prostitute. There's no way these men could have got the underage prostitute for S$50.00, just as I can't possibly expect to buy a Merlin bike for S$600.00.
If these men had paid for the services of the underage prostitute, there is no way they can feign ignorance of her age. They had paid ten times the usual fee a prostitute charges and the extra they had paid for is nothing less than the tender age of the victim which is obviously looked upon as a premium by these filthy perverted paedophiles. Anyone who can do this must be a dangerous social predator who should be locked up for decades.
I hope that people who know nothing about prostitutes and what they charge for their services would stop excusing these vile paedophiles and begin to clamour for their just deserts.
Edit: 2:00pm 25 April 2012: Just as this blog post was still hot off the press, one of my friends informed me that she searched a few social escort sites and discovered that the fees for 20-year-olds were no different from those for the "mature" women (above 30). They all commanded the same fee (if not more) as what the 17-year-old was charging. Although I must admit that I find the men in this affair despicable and vile, I have to admit that perhaps some of them really thought the girl was above 18 and if that is so, they should be viewed perhaps with less frowning. We should bear in mind of course that if it hadn't been commercial sex, it wouldn't even have been a crime because in Singapore, the age of consent is 16. I think I'm out of my depths in the world of prostitution so I shan't make any more comments about prostitutes and their clients and I'll just focus my attention on food, biking and religion.