SINGAPORE — An administrator of Telegram chat group SG Nasi Lemak, which shared pornographic images, was sentenced to a 12-month Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO) on Thursday (3 June).
Leonard Teo Min Xuan, 27, had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and the Institute of Mental Health stated in its report that his disorder had contributed to his offences and impaired his judgement, Teo's lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy told the court during his client's sentencing hearing.
Teo was found suitable for an MTO for a period of 12 months, which will see him under psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time. The prosecution told the court that it would not be objecting to the sentence.
Teo, who works odd jobs, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count each of transmitting obscene material, and of transmitting the material knowing that it could be further circulated. One count of possessing obscene material was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Actively uploaded pornographic content
The SG Nasi Lemak Telegram group was created in November 2018. Teo an administrator of the group, discussed sexual matters and circulated voyeuristic material as well as promoted vice activities, such as sexual services.
The group's membership eventually swelled to over 44,000, out of whom 29 had administrative rights. A significant portion of the content shared within the group was believed to involve women in Singapore.
In order to remain in the chat group, members had to keep their account active by uploading and sharing pornographic material. Teo also did so to keep his account active.
On 15 March 2019 and 3 October 2019, the police received 31 reports islandwide about the group. On 14 October 2019, at about 4am, the police conducted an operation and arrested the four administrators.
Teo was arrested at his Pasir Ris residence, with his electronic devices seized hours later. The devices were found to have 427 compromising images.
Ganapathy had earlier told the court that Teo had been suffering from major depressive disorder since 2013 or 2014. His condition had manifested during the commission of his offences.
The lawyer added that the principle rehabilitation will take "centre stage" for his client and that it is appropriate for Teo, as it would force him to undergo treatment that would hopefully result in him returning as a contributing member of society.
District Judge Kessler Soh ordered that Teo undergo a year of MTO, warning him that if he did not complete the sentence, or if he reoffended, he will have to return to court to be sentenced afresh.
Teo was one of the four who were charged over the activities in SG Nasi Lemak.
Justin Lee Han Shi, 20, was sentenced to a year's probation last October. Another 18-year-old, who cannot be named due to his age at the time of the offences, was given a year's probation last December.
Another of the group's administrators, 39-year-old Liong Tianwei, was jailed nine weeks and fined $26,000 in March.
For transmitting obscene objects knowing that they may be further circulated, Teo could have been jailed up to three months, or fined, or both. He faced the same penalty for the charge of transmitting or circulating obscene material.
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