Malaysian police arrest founder of Sugarbook, a sugar daddy dating platform

Sugarbook founder and CEO Darren Chan being escorted by policemen at the High Court complex in Shah Alam, Selangor, on Feb 18, 2021. PHOTO: BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police have arrested the founder of Sugarbook, a "sugar daddy" dating platform.

Selangor Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Fadzil Ahmat said a team comprising Selangor and Shah Alam CID personnel arrested the 34-year-old man, who is identified as Darren Chan.

"The man, who is from Gelugor, Penang, was arrested in the compound of a condominium in Mont Kiara at around 4.30pm on Wednesday," Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 18).

"He will be brought to the Shah Alam Court today for remand."

Datuk Fadzil said initial investigations revealed that the suspect had confessed to be the founder of Sugarbook.

"We are investigating the case for publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public, sharing offensive or menacing content, and prostitution," he said.

The High Court later rejected an application to hold the man in remand for police questioning after he promised he would give full cooperation in the probe.

But police on Thursday evening rearrested him, saying he is needed to facilitate investigations into rape and prostitution cases involving a university student.

Selangor's Criminal Investigation Department chief Fadzil Ahmat was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini that Chan was rearrested in relation to an incident in Subang Jaya on Feb 19, 2019.

"The complainant is a university student," said Fadzil in a statement.

Sugarbook matches sugar daddies to "sugar babies", or older and generally more well-off men to young women in a largely financial arrangement.

The dating platform attracted the attention of the public and the authorities after it named 10 Malaysian public and private universities as having the most students who chose to become sugar babies and sought sugar daddies to finance their lifestyles, Free Malaysia Today news site reported.

On Tuesday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked access to the Sugarbook website for allegedly breaching the law on the use of network facilities or network services.

The industry regulator posted a notification on the website saying it had essentially violated Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Sugarbook founder Darren Chan was arrested in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 17, 2021. PHOTO: DARRENSUGARBOOK/INSTAGRAM

However, it was learnt that the Sugarbook developer has set up an alternative site to enable its users to access the blocked Web page.

Earlier, the MCMC said it was monitoring and investigating Sugarbook and would take action against users and platform owners should they violate the law.

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