SINGAPORE: National para-athlete Adam Kamis admitted on Monday (Jun 20) to recruiting 34 women, including a 16-year-old girl, into the sex trade.
Adam, 37, pleaded guilty to 11 charges for recruiting women for prostitution and to a more serious charge for child trafficking.
Another 22 charges will be taken into consideration when Adam is sentenced on Jun 27.
Adam, who is also known as “Adam OneArmRunner”, lost his right arm in a motorcycle accident, which also left his left arm paralysed. The para-athlete, who represented Singapore at the Commonwealth Games and ASEAN Para Games, is also a motivational speaker.
Adam said he set up his social escort agency in early 2013 to get out of debt, and operated it for over two years before he was arrested in 2015.
“TRIED OUT” VICTIMS’ SEXUAL SERVICES
Prosecutors said on Monday that Adam used Facebook to recruit women, using the moniker “Angel Tan” to pass himself off as an escort girl working for the agency. He wanted to “pique their interest and gain their trust”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz told the court.
Besides getting the victims to fill in a “sexually explicit” questionnaire, Adam would also ask the women to indicate the sexual services they were willing to provide to clients, DPP Sripathy-Shanaz said. Then, he would “interview” the women in his Yishun flat, when his wife was not at home.
Adam told the women to strip, so he could “inspect the condition of their bodies”. To prove that they were indeed willing to provide sexual services, Adam would “try out” the women by having sex with them, DPP Sripathy-Shanaz told the court.
If the women did not perform satisfactorily, or were “awkward and lacking in skill and personality”, DPP Sripathy-Shanaz said, Adam would have sex with them again for “further verification”.
Prosecutors said between early 2013 and October 2015, when he was arrested, Adam had recruited 15 women, whose services he advertised online. His victims included several students, a dental assistant, childcare teacher and an accountant, and were aged between 16 and 38.
YOUNGEST VICTIM, 16, WAS PRESSURED INTO SEX: PROSECUTION
Prosecutors noted that except for the 16-year-old girl, the other victims appear to have joined Adam’s agency voluntarily.
The court heard the 16-year-old girl had come across Adam’s advertisement for a freelance job paying S$500 a day. In need of money, she contacted “Angel Tan”, the moniker used by Adam. She met Adam, who introduced himself as a staff of the escort company, at his Yishun flat.
He persuaded her to let him “inspect” her body, assuring her that all the girls who attended the interview had to do the same. After she complied, Adam told her he needed to “test her sexual skills”, DPP Sripathy-Shanaz said. Despite telling Adam she was only 16, he persisted, telling her that no one would find out. He had sex with her, but in the days following, the girl stopped responding to his attempts to contact her again.
DPP Sripathy-Shanaz said Adam had clearly exerted pressure on the teen to make her compliant to his demands, by falsely assuring her the agency was legitimate, and that he had other underage girls working for him. The prosecution called for a jail term of 38 months for Adam.
ONE-ARMED ATHLETE CANNOT LOOK AFTER HIMSELF IN PRISON: DEFENCE
However, defence lawyer Ravinderpal Singh urged the court to impose a more lenient sentence, citing Adam’s “harrowing” experience when he was remanded for about a week last year.
Mr Singh said Adam, who is unable to feed himself, had to eat his meals lying down on the floor of his cell. Unable to shower or change himself, Adam felt embarrassed and degraded, the lawyer said. He also has trouble relieving himself, and while he was allowed to use the toilet, officers did not clean him.
Adam’s mother and wife tend to his daily needs, Mr Singh said, but this cannot be the case when he is imprisoned.
Mr Singh said while prison authorities may be able to care for him medically, “the practical difficulties and daily struggles he would have to endure are beyond imagination”.
Adam’s doctor, a hand surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, said in a letter that so profound is Adam’s disability that “what we take for granted, will be impossible for him to do”.
In a letter to the court, the doctor called Adam “a model for the disabled in Singapore on what is achievable despite their disability”. “However, there is a finite limit to the sufferings that one can bear before the human spirit breaks”, he added, urging the court to show Adam “mercy and compassion”.
For procuring or attempting to procure a woman for the purpose of prostitution, Adam faces up to five years’ jail and a fine of up to S$10,000. For child trafficking, Adam could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$100,000. He could also be given up to six strokes of the cane.