Online vice ring trial: Pimp says he cannot be sure if accused had sex with underage escort

The pimp who twice arranged for the underage escort to meet with business consultant Edward Whistler Goh Ngian Meng, told the court on Friday that he was not aware if they had sex.

Testifying as a prosecution witness at the trial of his former client, Tang Boon Thiew insisted that his online escort business sold the "companionship" of the girls, and not sex.

But he said he would leave it to his escorts to decide if they wanted to have sex with the men, and also did not know or care if the had done so.

This was the case, he claimed, when he arranged for a girl who was not yet 18 years old to meet Goh, 50, at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on Sep 29, 2010, and at Goh's Katong apartment on Oct 24 a month later.

Goh faces two charges of having paid sex with the minor. On both those occasions, he had paid the girl more than $400 for her services.

A trial within a trial had been held to determine if his police statement, in which he had confessed to the trysts, can be admitted as court evidence.

On Friday, Tang told the court that his clients were expected to pay his escorts whether or not they had sex.

Goh had testified in court earlier this week that he did not have sex with the girl on Sep 29 at Hotel 81 Bencoolen because the police raided the place before anything happened between them. He also claimed that he was once again thwarted on Oct 24 at his apartment, because he could not get an erection.

Confirming that he had been aware of the raid, Tang said he did not think the pair had enough time to have sex that day, since they had spent only about 40 minutes in the hotel room. However, he added, he was not in the hotel at that time, so he did not know for sure.

The pimp has been sentenced to 58 months in jail for various offences under the Women's Charter related to the online vice ring case. He is appealing his sentence.