A married couple who made more than $600,000 from a website where vice operators could advertise sexual services were given jail sentences and fined a total of $140,000 yesterday.
Liu Chin Guan, 36, was sentenced to 21 months in jail and fined $100,000, while his wife, Angela Lim Xiu Yan, 32, was jailed for eight months and fined $40,000.
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 some time in 2011, Liu's uncle Sonny Liu engaged a Web designer to set up a website to provide advertising services to vice syndicates to promote 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 via an 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A total of $646,737, representing proceeds from the website business, was deposited and withdrawn from the account. The couple spent it on their living expenditures 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.
He 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.