SINGAPORE - A married couple who made more than $600,000 from a website where vice operators could advertise sexual services were jailed and fined a total of $140,000 on Tuesday (Jan 9).
Liu Chin Guan, 36, was given 21 months and a $100,000 fine while his wife, Angela Lim Xiu Yan, 32, was sentenced to eight months and a $40,000 fine.
Liu had admitted 10 of 21 charges of abetment by intentionally aiding in living on 10 prostitutes' earnings between 2014 and 2016. Lim had pleaded guilty to four of 21 similar charges last November.
The court heard that sometime in 2011, Liu's uncle Sonny Liu engaged a web designer to set up a website to provide advertising services to vice syndicates to advertise the sexual services of their prostitutes.
Liu was asked to be a partner. Subsequently, when his uncle went missing, he became the only manager and operator of the website EZ141sg.com.
He actively advertised the website on various popular vice forums. Over time, more and more operators began advertising their prostitutes on the website. They were charged $300 a month, which they were directed to pay into a DBS Bank account.
An account and profile would be created for vice operators to upload banners, photographs and information such as the rates and profiles of the sex workers.
Lim helped to withdraw money from the DBS Bank account from the ATM, liaise with vice operators and upload banners.
Liu had offered $1,000 to a Thai national to open the account for him to hide his identity.
A total of $646,737, representing proceeds of the website business, was deposited and withdrawn from the account. The couple spent it on their living expenditure and bought a Volkswagen Golf car.
When police arrested the couple in May 2016, 17 vice operators were using the site.
Follow-up investigations resulted in the arrests of two 34-year-old masterminds behind the vice syndicates known as Platinum and Premium Club. Twenty Singaporean women aged 20 to 43 worked for the duo and gave part of their earnings to the pair.
In his mitigation plea, the couple's lawyer Shaneet Rai said they had realised the folly of their actions and felt deep remorse.
Mr Rai said Lim was working solely under her husband's directions and, due to an unfortunate past, she exhibited deference and subservience towards his instructions. They have an 11-year-old son.
Mr Rai successfully applied for his clients to start their sentence after Chinese New Year - on Feb 19 - in order to settle their personal affairs and get a bank loan for their executive condominium.