SINGAPORE - A car dealer befriended an 11-year-old girl and had consensual unprotected sex with her on two occasions.
Li Jixian, 25, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Nov 22) to two counts of sexually penetrating the underage Vietnamese girl and was sentenced to three years' jail.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said the Singaporean got to know the girl via social media platform WeChat in April 2016.
After chatting for a few days, they met for the first time later that month at a shelter beside a playground near the girl's home in the eastern part of Singapore.
The DPP said: "The accused recalled that in their first encounter, they had walked around, chatted, hugged and kissed each other on the lips. After that day, they continued to stay in touch via WeChat."
They arranged to meet two months later at the same shelter and Li led the girl to an area behind a bin centre where he had sexual intercourse with her.
They met up again in July 2016 and went to a block of flats in the girl's neighbourhood where they had sexual intercourse at a staircase landing.
Court documents did not reveal how Li's offences came to light.
The minor's mother lodged a police report on Aug 13, 2016, claiming that her daughter had been raped.
Defence lawyer Henry Lim told District Judge Kessler Soh that the girl had lied to his client, telling him she was 17 years old.
Mr Lim added: "The accused accepts he has to be blamed as he did not take steps to ascertain the truth in her statement. This was his fatal mistake."
He pleaded for a sentence that was lower than the three-year jail term sought by the prosecution.
DPP Asoka told the court that the car dealer had the responsibility as an adult to verify the girl's age before engaging in sexual activities with her.
Li is now out on a bail of $10,000 and was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on Jan 4 to begin serving his sentence.
For each count of sexually penetrating a minor, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.