Online prostitution syndicate mastermind pleads guilty to offences
- POSTED: 26 Sep 2013 17:32
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A man who was one of the masterminds behind an online prostitution syndicate pleaded guilty in a district court on Thursday to various offences that included living off the earnings of prostitution and harbouring prostitutes.
SINGAPORE: A man who was one of the masterminds behind an online prostitution syndicate pleaded guilty in a district court on Thursday to various offences that included living off the earnings of prostitution and harbouring prostitutes.
The court heard that 34-year-old Tan Beng Kim and a co-accused known as Gary Tan Thiam Soon ran a website called "Loveseed Club", and recruited women from Thailand to work as prostitutes in Singapore.
They started their prostitution business sometime in March 2012 with two women recruited through agents in Thailand.
In Tan Beng Kim's case, the prosecution proceeded on four charges. Five others will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced.
Investigations revealed that depending on the terms of their contracts, the women were required to hand over all their earnings from their first 10 to 20 customers to the syndicate, after which the syndicate would take a 50 per cent cut.
For example, if the syndicate paid for their passage to Singapore, the women would be required to hand over all the earnings from their first 20 customers to the syndicate.
Customers who browsed the website would call the numbers stated on it to book the girls they wanted to hire to provide the sexual services.
Tan and his co-accused would upload pictures of newly-recruited woman whenever they received them from Thai agents.
The men who hired the girls for sexual services were charged between S$140 and S$150 each time for a 90-minute session.
After making the booking, the men would then be directed to an apartment in Joo Chiat Place.
Tan had deceived the property agent into renting the property to him by using photocopied identification cards bought from an unknown person in Geylang.
The court heard that Tan would consolidate all the earnings of the women, and he would use the money to pay those who worked for him, for other expenses, as well as keep a cut for himself.
Tan's offences were "well-planned" and he took steps to evade detection, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chen Zhida.
Mr Chen pointed out several aggravating factors in this case.
This included the fact that this was a syndicated operation with an international element, and that Tan had exploited the woman.
Another factor was that his use of the internet to conduct the business had allowed him to escape detection for a significant period of time.
"The accused is integral to the syndicate, and was one of its masterminds," he added.
Tan, who is represented by lawyer S.K Kumar, will be back in court on October 24 when his mitigation plea will be heard.