Thai jailed for sex with girl, 12

A THAI cook was jailed for a year in the District Court yesterday for having sex with a 12-year-old Thai girl who had run away from home.

Somnuk Mansa-Art, 21, pleaded guilty before Judge Hartmann to two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13.

Although defence solicitor Mr Willy Cheng had submitted that culturally, having sex with a girl as young as 12 was not uncommon in Thailand, Judge Hartmann rejected this as a mitigating factor.

He also rejected Mr Cheng's submission that culturally, the offences involving two Thai nationals were not as serious as those involving two local Hongkong people.

But he accepted this was not a callous using and dumping of a young girl since the defendant had proposed to marry the victim after the incident. The court heard the proposal had been refused by her parents.

Mr Cheng also submitted that at the time of the offences, the defendant had no knowledge of the girl's age, but thought she looked quite mature.

The court heard the girl met the defendant in the Thai restaurant where he worked after she ran away from home on September 29 last year.

She stayed with him for three nights after they struck up a friendship.

The defendant had sex with the victim with her consent on the second and third nights, the court was told.

Prosecuting counsel, Mr Anthony Mitchell-Heggs, said the defendant had no previous criminal conviction.