Fridae.com founder jailed for selling Ice

Stuart Koe Chi Yeow was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail, with five strokes of the cane.
Stuart Koe Chi Yeow was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail, with five strokes of the cane.

Fridae.com founder Stuart Koe Chi Yeow was sentenced to jail for five years and nine months, with five strokes of the cane yesterday for selling methamphetamine - also known as Ice - to a drug abuser.

Following a trial, District Judge Olivia Low found him guilty on Feb 27 of one count of drug trafficking.

Koe, 45, who is also the managing director of local pharmaceutical firm ICM Pharma, had sold one packet of a crystalline substance containing 0.17g of Ice for $240 to beauty adviser Yeoh Kim Koon.

Koe committed the offence in his Spottiswoode Park Road home at around 7.30pm on Aug 25, 2016.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong stressed that Koe had shown a lack of remorse and he cannot be treated as a first-time offender because he had repeatedly sold drugs to Yeoh.

Koe's lawyer Sunil Sudheesan, however, asked for his client to be given the mandatory minimum sentence of five years' jail with five strokes of the cane.

He said there was no indication Koe had committed the offence for a profit and the amount of drugs involved was extremely small.

Yeoh, who is a convicted drug abuser and is also known as Eric, testified in court in September last year that he had bought drugs multiple times from Koe - the founder of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news and social networking site.

The Malaysian told Judge Low that Koe had sold him methamphetamine, which they referred to as "cream", priced at either $100 or $120 per gram.

He added that Koe also sold him another substance, referred to as "G", which cost $300 for 100ml. The court heard that he was Koe's sex partner from July to August 2016.

DPP Wong told the court last year that Yeoh was arrested in his Sengkang flat at 7.20am on Sept 15, 2016. Koe was arrested a week later.

Yeoh pleaded guilty to offences that included methamphetamine consumption and possession on May 31 last year. He was later sentenced to 16 months' jail.

The court heard yesterday that Koe will be appealing against his conviction and sentence. He was offered bail of $45,000, pending this appeal.

He has five other drug-related charges against him for offences such as methamphetamine consumption and possession. The pre-trial conference for these cases will be held on March 22. The bail offered for these cases was an additional $15,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline 'Fridae.com founder jailed for selling Ice'. Print Edition | Subscribe