Man who rented properties later used as brothels jailed 45 weeks, fined

SINGAPORE - A 49-year-old man rented 21 properties under his name on behalf of other individuals, after being told by them that the units would be used to house foreign students or workers.

It turned out that 13 of the units were used as brothels, with one other unit used for gambling-related activities.

Bernard Que Doh Bing, 49, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Aug 13) to five charges related to deceiving various property owners into leasing their units to him.

He was sentenced to 45 weeks' jail and a fine of $10,750.

Seven other similar charges were also taken into consideration during sentencing by District Judge Marvin Bay.

The judge noted that Que had continued to rent units even after he became aware that they were used for prostitution purposes.

Court documents state that Que entered into lease agreements for the 21 properties between July 2018 and June 2019.

Four of the units, including one at Kim Keat Road, were rented on behalf of a man named "Fang Yun" whom he had met in Johor Baru, Malaysia, in February 2018.

Fang Yun had told Que then that the properties were to be used as residences for foreign students, and that he would be paid about $500 in commission a month for each unit he rented.

The court heard that Que gave the owners of each unit a different reason for renting the property, such as using it as a home office for his "electronic parts" business or as a place to stay.

He even asked the owners of one unit to provide a bed for his father, whom he claimed would be discharged from the hospital soon and would be staying at the property with him.

Que received a total of about $10,800 in commission fees from Fang Yun for renting the four units, which were eventually found to be used as brothels.

According to court documents, he rented the remaining 17 properties on behalf of two individuals whom he had claimed were loan sharks he owed money to.

He had also claimed that the loan sharks told him the units would be used as workers' dormitories, and that they would deduct a sum from his debt for each unit he rented on their behalf.

One of the units, located in a building at Lorong 33 Geylang, was eventually discovered to be used for gambling-related activities.

Court documents did not state details on how Que secured the lease for the other properties or which ones were also found to be used as brothels.

Judge Bay granted Que's request to defer his jail sentence - so that he can take care of his father who is to undergo an operation next month - and ordered him to surrender himself in court on Sept 30.

For each of his offences, Que could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.