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Jail, fine for ex-cop who had sex with prostitute tenants without disclosing HIV-positive status

Jail, fine for ex-cop who had sex with prostitute tenants without disclosing HIV-positive status

Photo illustration of a man committing molest. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A former police officer had sex with prostitutes he was renting out a condominium unit to without telling them that he had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

For failing to inform his sex partners about the risk of contracting HIV from him, living partly on a prostitute's earnings and allowing his condo to be used as a brothel, the 53-year-old man was sentenced to a year and seven months' jail on Friday (Jul 26).

He was also fined S$2,500. Another seven charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The man, whose identity is protected by gag order along with the victims', had initially rented the apartment in Geylang to live there with his lover.

However, when she broke off contact with him, he put up ads to rent out the unit.

These ads were answered by three prostitutes, who entertained 47 customers in the makeshift brothel over 19 days between Jun 22 and Jul 11, 2017.

The former police officer, who was working as a security guard at the time, had sex with the women himself. He did not tell them that he was HIV-positive.

FIRST SUSPECTED HE HAD HIV IN THAILAND IN 2003

He had first suspected that he had the disease in Thailand in 2003, but did not seek treatment or confirm it until May 2008, when he was formally diagnosed with HIV.

He was told by a medical social worker at the time that he was required to inform his sex partners of his HIV status and seek their consent before engaging in sexual activities with them.

He paid one prostitute S$100 for sexual services in July 2017, and asked another for sexual services a month before this.

When rejected by her, the man lied to her that he was a police officer and would cause trouble for her if she did not agree to it.

She insisted he wear protection, and was not paid for her services.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) had begun investigating the case after receiving an email from the accused in April 2017 about a sex worker. He said in his email that he had engaged in sex with the worker and suspected that she had a sexually transmitted disease.

He also asked the ministry to investigate and repatriate the woman, before following up with another email saying he was HIV-positive and that his condom had broken while last having sex with the same sex worker.

The information was referred to MOH's surveillance and enforcement branch for further investigations.

SEX WORKERS WOULD NOT HAVE HAD SEX WITH HIM IF THEY HAD KNOWN

The prosecution on Friday said the man had not informed the women of his medical status despite sleeping with both of them on multiple occasions.

Both victims later said they would not have engaged in sexual activity with him if they had known.

Defence lawyer Chu Hua Yi said his client had collected rent and "did not collect prostitutes' earnings at all".

He added that "Geylang is where prostitutes ply their trade" and that the vice had not occurred in the heartlands.

The women were caught working illegally, said the lawyer, and had their visas or passes revoked by authorities.

The judge said "the point is very simple", that the accused knew the money was from their prostitution.

The defence added that his client's father was suffering from terminal cancer, and there was a very high risk that he would never get to see his father before he got out of prison.

He is also the primary caregiver for his only son, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said the defence counsel.

"He did what he did because of the situation he found himself in at the time," said the lawyer. "I would say he's learnt his lesson."

The prosecution in response said that it was "a rather sweeping statement" to stereotype the whole Geylang area as a red-light district.

"There are different zones in Geylang, residential areas as well as commercial areas," said the prosecutor.

The judge granted a three-week deferment of the sentence after the defence said his client's sister was in Singapore for their "last chance of a family reunion".

Source: CNA/ll(hm)

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