Last edited: May 15, 2004

Singapore Cuts Sentence in Oral Sex Case

Reuters, February 18, 2004

SINGAPORE—A Singapore judge reduced the sentence of a policeman charged with receiving oral sex after his case provoked a storm of protest, but he told the court that such a sex act did not conform to Asian values.

Police coast guard sergeant Annis Abdullah’s sentence was halved to a year in jail after the 27-year-old received consensual oral sex from a teenage girl in April.

“In the Asian culture, certain offences are still not talked about though in some cultures you can go sucking away, and some important people had gotten away with it,” 77-year-old Chief Justice Yong Pung How was quoted by state media as telling the court at Tuesday’s sentencing.

The man’s case sparked a rare public outcry against a notorious local law that says “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals can be fined and jailed up to 10 years, or even for life.”

Letters defending Abdullah filled newspapers after media reported the girl’s age as 16, above the legal age of consent.

After days of furious correspondence in the press deriding the oral sex ban as antiquated and out of step, the government announced that her age at the time of the incident was 15.

Still, Singaporeans, known for quietly acquiescing to tough laws, appeared shocked such a ban even existed, and the government announced last month it may decriminalize oral sex between men and women following a review of the Penal Code.

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