A 54-year-old man ran an extensive business advertising the sexual services of prostitutes on five websites over a few years, earning about $150,000.
Andrew Lim Kim Lwee was yesterday jailed for 13 months and fined $27,000 after he earlier admitted to nine charges of knowingly living in part on the prostitution earnings of nine Chinese nationals.
Lim had created four websites in September 2012 to advertise the sexual services of prostitutes in exchange for payment of recurrent advertising fees.
After he was charged and released on bail in 2014, he reoffended by starting a fifth website and roping in someone to help run it in the event that he had to go to jail.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Soo Tet said on Wednesday that Lim would arrange to meet the prostitutes at their places of lodging or at hotel rooms to take suggestive and explicit photographs for their profiles on the websites.
The vice webmaster would advise them on what they should wear, as well as what type of photographs to take and upload.
He would also ask for details of sexual services that they were willing to provide and their fees. He advised them on services they could consider providing and how much to charge customers.
He then charged them between $350 and $450 each month to maintain their online profiles on the websites.
Apart from advertising on an online adult chat forum, he also engaged Gregory Teo Wee Hiang, 40, to help post "field reports'' for the prostitutes.
These reports were descriptions and reviews of the women's sexual services, and of the writer's experiences with them.
Lim, who was operator and administrator of the four websites, could have up to about 100 women advertising their paid sexual services at any one time. He told police he alone reaped profits of around $110,000 to $120,000 from running the websites.
While on court bail in July 2014, he engaged one of his contacts to create a further website to advertise the paid sexual services of freelance prostitutes.
Sometime in January last year, he asked Soh Ah Guan, 36, to join him in running the website and the business, and to share profits equally.
"The accused was concerned as he was the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings against him and wanted someone to assist in the continued operation of the website in the event that he had to serve an imprisonment term," said DPP Tan.
District Judge Luke Tan said there was planning and pre-meditation involved. He noted Lim's extensive role in the offences, as well as the sophistication and scale of the operation.
Pointing out that Lim earned $42,000 when he reoffended between July 2014 and February last year, Judge Tan said it suggested that the vice business he was facilitating was "clearly booming''.
Both Teo and Soh have been jailed for one month each for their roles.
Lim, who had 14 other charges of living and attempting to live on prostitution earnings taken into consideration, could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000 per charge.