Landlady jailed and fined for renting out People's Park Complex units to prostitutes

A general view of People's Park Complex in Chinatown on March 7, 2018.
A general view of People's Park Complex in Chinatown on March 7, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Despite eight police warnings that her properties at People's Park Complex were being used for vice-related activities, landlady Beh Dien Dien continued to let them out to tenants without checking their backgrounds.

But in a 13-day trial, a court heard that the 45-year-old Singaporean "knew they were prostitutes", and on Wednesday (May 16) she was sentenced to 14 weeks' jail and a fine of $8,000.

District Judge Ong Chin Rhu last month found her guilty of two counts of living on the earnings of prostitution and one of renting out a property in the knowledge that it would be used as a brothel.

In his submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai said that Beh owns a unit on the eighth storey and another on the 19th storey of the Chinatown block.

She also rented from others two more units in the same building - one on the 17th storey and another on the 25th. In all, there were 27 rooms available within the four units, although Beh and her family did not live in any of them.

The court heard that when a sex worker was arrested for plying her trade in one of Beh's properties on the 19th storey, she moved the Chinese national to a unit on the eighth floor.

Beh then got the woman to find a man to sign a tenancy agreement on her behalf so that she could distance herself in case the Chinese national was arrested again. A man called Luo Jin eventually signed the papers.

DPP Lai said: "It was abundantly clear that the accused had indeed tried to use Luo Jin as a cloak to mislead the authorities should (the sex worker) be arrested again."

Beh received a total of $8,600 from the Chinese national and another sex worker from China between November 2015 and March 2016.

"She knew they were prostitutes prior to renting out the premises to them," the DPP added. "The accused was way more culpable than a 'negligent landlord'. She had purposefully not done anything to stop prostitutes from renting her units so as to maximise profits."

The two sex workers were arrested in March 2016.

Beh is appealing against her conviction and sentence and was offered bail of $20,000.