Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) [Hong Kong]
November 3, 2022
By UCA News Reporter
The accused allegedly assaulted a five-year-old girl in California in 2017
A Singaporean court for the first time has ordered the extradition of a man to the United States following his arrest on the charge of sexual assault against a minor in a church.
District Judge Loh Hui-min ordered Chester Yang Jr., also known as Pian He Yang and Tian He Yang, to be held in prison until his removal under the Extradition Act, the Straits Times reported on Nov. 3.
The alleged offense took place on April 21, 2017, in the loft of a church in California.
Five years later, Yang was arrested on May 31, 2022, in Singapore. The court documents didn’t reveal the citizenship and age of the accused.
Judge Loh Hui-min said Yang was “liable to be surrendered to the US in respect of the three charges.”
“Accordingly, I issued a warrant committing him to prison to await the warrant from the minister for his surrender,” she had noted in her judgment pronounced on Oct. 3.
Yang “strenuously resisted” the extraction bid and argued that manipulation and misinterpretation of evidence has occurred.
Judge Loh observed that the state had made out a prima facie (on the first impression) case to support Yang’s extradition.
“There was nothing in Yang’s evidence that gave this court reasonable basis to find that the evidence adduced by the state was inherently incredible.”
Yang is alleged to have touched the then-five-year-old girl’s genitals in the loft of a church where a wedding rehearsal was taking place in 2017.
The victim stated that after her mother had gone downstairs for the music rehearsal, the man asked her to go over to “a corner that no one can see.”
She had confided the details to her father a month after the alleged offenses had occurred.
Yang has refuted the prosecution’s argument stating that he had only playfully raised the child by her armpits and on seeing her belly button had blown air to make her laugh.
Judge Loh emphasized that Yang still had the opportunity to prove his innocence and gain an acquittal during the trial in the United States.
“He [Yang] remains free to pursue his defense at trial, which will be the appropriate forum to test the credibility of the witnesses and assess the quality of the evidence against him,” Loh said.
Multiple media outlets have reported Yang’s case to be the first reported extradition application for a fugitive in Singapore wanted for child sex offenses in the US.
Yang is accused of three charges of sexual misconduct against the girl.
If convicted of lewd conduct under California Penal Code 647, Yang may face up to eight years in prison.
A conviction for child molestation can result in a one-year jail term and a fine of up to US$5,000.
Additionally, a conviction for sexual assault can result in a jail term of up to four years and a maximum fine of US$10,000.