Swiss man charged in Singapore sex scandal

A scandal over an underage Singaporean prostitute widened on Wednesday after a Swiss man and a prominent Singaporean business figure were accused of being among her clients.

Swiss national Jürg Bürgin, 40, and Howard Shaw, 41, a member of a famous Asian cinema and property clan, were charged with having paid sex with a woman under the age of 18, an offence punishable by up to seven years in prison.

In charge sheets seen by AFP, Bürgin was accused of paying the girl twice for sex in luxury hotels while Shaw allegedly procured her services once.

Local media reports said the girl was 17 when the alleged offences took place between September 2010 and February 2011.

Singapore media websites said Bürgin is a former executive at Swiss banking giant UBS in Singapore but UBS had no comment on the report.

Banking sources said Bürgin quit UBS earlier this year as executive director in the operations department, a backroom function.

Shaw is a grandson of the late Runme Shaw, who with his brother Run Run Shaw set up film distribution giant Shaw Organisation, which now has wide-ranging property and business interests as well as charitable activities.

So far, 48 men have been charged in connection with the girl, who worked for a now defunct online prostitution website.

Until the scandal, Howard Shaw was better known as the former executive director of the non-profit Singapore Environmental Council, which championed green causes. He quit in 2011 to join an investment holding company.

The other accused men include a former school principal, a senior civil servant and a naval officer.

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Swiss public broadcaster refuses to air advert for sex toys advent calendar

Swiss public broadcaster SRF has denied an advertising slot to a company selling an advent calendar with sex toys.

Swiss public broadcaster refuses to air advert for sex toys advent calendar
Photo: KateNovikova/Depositphotos

An advert by Swiss online sex toys retailer Amorana has been refused airtime by Swiss public broadcaster SRF. Amorana's advent calendar offers dildos and other sex toys as presents in the calendar, although the products do not feature in the advert.

The advert shows a woman dressed as a superhero shoving an advent calendar into her man's arms, after slapping him, and declaring: “This is a great Christmas present.” The advert does not implicitly make any reference to sex or sex toys. 

A spokeswoman for the public broadcaster SRF said the decision was made in consideration for “the moral values” of minority groups that could be sensitive to the content, according to Swiss daily 20 Minutes.  

Amorana's co-founder Alan Frei told The Local his company received the following response from SRF:

“Even if the advertised spot only implies Amorana's offer in this form, the offer is the same. We (SRF) do not want to violate the values and feelings of individual audiences and, for image reasons, we do not want to offer ourselves as an advertising platform for sex paraphernalia.”

READ ALSO: US researcher blasts Swiss magazine's sexist depiction

The broadcaster was accused of double standards though as one of its own shows last year ran a programme called 'Vibrator Test – What Women Like'. Amorana, in a statement, also accused the broadcaster of double standards, asking why SRF broadcasts product tests for vibrators and documentaries on sex toys, but won't allow advertising. 

The Amorana advert will still run on private broadcasters “that don't have a problem with our advert”, Alan Frei, Amorana's co-founder, told The Local by email. 

READ MORE: Swiss broadcaster to cut less jobs than previously announced