Lambasted Singapore restaurants firm fires French CEO who punched minor

The Privé restaurant at Orchard. Photo: The Privé Group/Facebook
The Privé restaurant at Orchard. Photo: The Privé Group/Facebook

A well-known F&B company has fired its CEO, who yesterday admitted to assaulting a minor, after drawing flak for reacting with words of support. 

The Privé Group announced today that it has sacked French national Jean-Luc Kha Vu Han, 44, while pointing out that its initial statement may have been misconstrued. Some were willing to boycott the company for responding to Vu Han’s guilty plea with a statement describing him as a “valuable member” who continues to have the company’s “unwavering support.” 

“We strongly condemn his actions and all acts of violence and would like to reassure the public that his personal actions do not in any way reflect our core values. We sincerely apologise if any our statements has been misconstrued as condoning his actions as we do not support violence in any way,” the company said today. It’s not clear who will run Prive Group, known for operating the Prive restaurant chain.

Vu Han yesterday pleaded guilty to punching and harassing a 13-year-old in an elevator in Parklane Shopping Mall two years ago. He reportedly asked the boy lewd questions about his genitals and offered him sex with other people. When the boy refused, Vu Han allegedly punched his temple and slapped him.

Vu Han’s lawyer Teh Ee-Von said his client was dealing with separation from his wife and business pressures at the time of the incident, and has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Vu Han pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge each of voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally causing alarm. He is due to return to court in December. 

In response to Vu Han’s guilty plea, Prive Group originally said: “Mr Vu Han Jean-Luc Kha remains a valuable member of our management team and has our full and unwavering support.”

Some who reacted to Prive’s statement said they were going to boycott the brand for supporting “child abuse.” 

“If you continue to patronise the Prive group of restaurants, you are supporting the group’s stand in condoning what that depraved CEO did to the poor child! Disappointed that they still support their lewd CEO who hurt a child!” Dorean Tia Yiping wrote.

“How can the company people still stand by this guy [V]u [H]an. [T]he court should jail [V]u [H]an for [a] few years to show how serious we [S]ingaporean[s] treat such [bullies]. This cannot be allowed in [S]ingapore at all,” Tan Frankie wrote.

“Unbelievable statement by the company and unbelievable such [food and beverage] establishment can judge a person by [revenue] rather than the trauma the child’s gone through,” Eddie Rahim wrote.

The Privé Group owns multiple upscale food establishments and nightclubs. The Privé restaurant has 10 outlets.

Other stories you should check out:

Singapore-Australia flights to resume Nov. 23: Qantas
Night Owl Cinematics’ Sylvia Chan files multiple complaints about harassment, ‘sex video’

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