SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man took advantage of his former girlfriend's mental illness and tricked her into prostituting herself by pretending to be a spiritual medium who could connect her with a dead man she had developed feelings for.
Kenneth Lim Zhi Zhan lied to the victim that the spirit was seeking intimacy with her.
For nine months, Lim got her to have sex with him, saying it was a way to reciprocate the feelings the spirit had for her.
The 30-year-old also got her to offer paid sexual services to others. But he pocketed the earnings by telling her that the money she earned was to pay for prayer items for the dead man.
The victim, now 24, was diagnosed with having a history of depression with psychotic features, and her "crush" was nothing but a figment of her imagination.
Lim, a former security officer, was jailed for a year and fined $5,000 on Thursday (May 20).
He had pleaded guilty in March to one count of knowingly living on the victim's prostitution earnings. A second charge of procuring the victim for prostitution was taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Lim and the victim were in a relationship in early 2014. She was 18 at the time.
Around then, she became infatuated with a man whose picture she purportedly saw on her friend's mobile phone.
She confided in Lim that she dreamt about the man often and sought his help to locate him.
Lim and the victim broke up shortly after.
In late 2014, the victim told Lim that the man had died and that she missed him very much.
She asked Lim if he could connect her with the man in the "nether world" through a Chinese medium.
Lim decided to play along and deceived the victim that he was a Chinese medium and could help her on the condition that she kept it a secret.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said Lim later told her that she needed to have sex with him so that she could be reunited with the spirit. The victim agreed and they had sex several times.
In July 2015, Lim told the victim that her crush wanted her to prostitute herself to earn money for prayer items.
The victim agreed, thinking Lim was acting under the instruction of her crush. Lim then helped the victim advertise her services online.
Between August and September 2015, the victim had sex with at least six clients and handed around $5,000 to Lim. He used the money to pay off his personal debts.
His offences came to light in October 2015, when the victim's older sister made a police report after she found out that her sister had been working as a prostitute.
For living on a prostitute's earnings, Lim could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000.