Tan Tam Mei
The Straits Times 
July 26, 2019

He looked too small and young to be a 17-year-old but Malik Erasmus Aslam, now 41, did little to verify his age before he proceeded to have sex with the boy he had met on gay dating mobile application Grindr.

The boy turned out to be 13 years old.

Aslam also admitted to making an obscene film of their sex act when they met a second time.

On Friday (July 26), the former horse racing jockey with the Singapore Turf Club was jailed for 18 months for engaging in a sexual act with a person under the age of 14.

The court heard that some time in mid-January last year, Aslam sent the victim a message via the app requesting sex.

After an exchange of messages discussing the price for the act, it was agreed that Aslam would pay the boy, who cannot be named due to a gag order, $130.

The boy’s father reported the matter to the police last February when he learnt that his son had engaged in sexual activities.

Court documents showed that before they met, Aslam had asked the victim for his age and the latter claimed he was 17.

This was the only time he asked the boy his age.

On Jan 30, 2018, they met for the first time when the victim went to Aslam’s home.

The boy had a small stature and youthful look, but Aslam made no attempt to verify his age.

They undressed and sniffed “poppers”, which is an illicit psychoactive drug used to relax muscles, and Aslam had sex with the boy while wearing a condom.

They met about a week later at Aslam’s home where he again had sex with the boy. This time, Aslam used his mobile phone to film the act.

The boy did not know he was caught on video.

In his mitigation, Aslam’s lawyer Nichol Yeo said that his client had believed that the victim was at least 17 years old.

Mr Yeo added that the app has age verification safeguards in place, where users have to verify and confirm they are above 18 when registering for an account.

The victim had indicated on his profile in the app that he was 18.

He said Aslam also tried to verify the victim’s age by asking him how old he was, and the victim replied that he was 17.

“This was the second time the victim misrepresented his age and my client had no reason to suspect he was under 16 or even under 14,” said Mr Yeo, asking the court for a sentence of 12 months’ jail for his client.

Mr Yeo also told the court that the victim had initiated the second meeting and had told Aslam that he needed money again and gave him a discount of $30 from the initial price.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Lim asked for a sentence of 18 months as a general deterrence against such crimes involving children who were vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

For engaging in a sexual act with a person under the age of 14, Aslam could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.