Fridae.com founder denies selling drugs

Fridae.com founder Stuart Koe Chi Yeow, who is also the managing director of a local pharmaceutical, faces one count of drug trafficking.
Fridae.com founder Stuart Koe Chi Yeow, who is also the managing director of a local pharmaceutical, faces one count of drug trafficking.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

He tells court the items he sold to convicted drug abuser were skin-numbing cream and hair-growth lotion

Fridae.com founder Stuart Koe Chi Yeow told a court yesterday that he had never sold narcotics to a convicted drug abuser who used to be his sex partner.

In September, Malaysian Yeoh Kim Koon testified that he had bought from Koe methamphetamine, which they referred to as "cream", and another substance known as G.

Taking the stand on the third day of his drug-trafficking trial, Koe, 45, told District Judge Olivia Low that instead of narcotics, he had sold Yeoh some numbing cream which can be used to prepare the skin for tattooing and piercing.

He also said that G was what they used to refer to a hair-growth scalp lotion known as Growell.

Koe, who started Fridae.com - a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news and social networking site - is also the managing director of local pharmaceutical firm ICM Pharma. The firm manufactures both the skin-numbing cream and Growell, the court heard.

However, when cross-examined by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Wong Woon Kwong, Koe admitted that he knew the word "cream" could also be used to refer to methamphetamine.

He also knew that another drug, gamma hydroxybutyric acid, can be referred to as "GHB" or "G water".

Koe is on trial for one count of drug trafficking. He allegedly sold Yeoh, also known as Eric, one packet of a crystalline substance containing 0.17g of Ice for $240 on Aug 25 last year.

Koe is accused of committing the offence in his Spottiswoode Park Road home at around 7.30pm that day.

He has five other drug-related charges against him for offences that include methamphetamine consumption and possession. They have been stood down and will be dealt with at a later date.

Yeoh pleaded guilty on May 31 this year to offences that include methamphetamine consumption and was later sentenced to 16 months' jail.

Yesterday, Koe testified that the numbing cream is not available for sale in Singapore and the supplies that he had at home were samples for his personal use. Despite this, he told the court that he had sold Yeoh some cream a few times at about $100 per gram.

For instance, Koe sold him 2g of an item referred to as "cream" on Aug 15 last year. When the prosecution asked why he did so, he replied: "I had no reason to say 'no' to $200."

DPP Wong also pointed out that Growell is sold in places such as pharmacies and 100ml of the product costs about $160. However, according to a text message Koe sent Yeoh, 100ml of an item referred to G costs $300.

When DPP Wong asked Koe why Yeoh wanted to buy the product at such an inflated price, Koe replied: "That is not for me to say."

The court heard that on Aug 25 last year, Yeoh bought from Koe 2g of cream and 50ml of G for a total of $390. The trial resumes today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2017, with the headline 'Fridae.com founder denies selling drugs'. Print Edition | Subscribe