ONLINE VICE RING

Last man cleared as 5-year-long case ends

The final chapter in a five-year-long case involving a high-profile online vice ring was written yesterday when the last man was cleared of commercial sex with an underage social escort.

Businessman Calvin Yew Boon Liat, 37, clad in a full suit, was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal for allegedly paying $500 for the sexual services of the minor at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on Oct 27, 2010.

In response to media queries, a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers confirmed that Mr Yew is the last man to be dealt with in the case.

She said: "The Attorney- General's Chambers had carefully considered the facts of the case in its decision to withdraw the charge against Calvin Yew."

A total of 51 men were charged in 2012 with having had paid sex with the 17-year-old at various hotels. The case first made the headlines in February that year as the men, from all walks of life, were called up for questioning by the police.

The escort, now 22, was among those listed on a website operated by her pimp, Tang Boon Thiew, in 2010.

She was given a moniker and described as a 19-year-old polytechnic student on the website.

Those who were interested in booking her services would contact Tang through the contact information listed on the website.

Tang, 42, was convicted of 20 vice-related charges and sentenced to 58 months' jail and fined $90,000.

In all, 46 men were jailed for having had commercial sex with the minor; one was fined $10,000; and another given 18 months' probation. Most drew jail time of between nine and 12 weeks.

Two others were cleared after claiming trial.

Mr Yew, represented by Ms Ho Lifen from Rajah and Tann, who took over the matter from his previous lawyers in July, said: "I am very glad that the whole matter is concluded."

The maximum punishment for having commercial sex with a person under 18 years old is seven years' jail and a fine.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Last man cleared as 5-year-long case ends Online vice ring'. Print Edition | Subscribe