His stirring story of overcoming personal adversity was once flagged as an inspiration to others. But yesterday marked the beginning of a dark chapter as national para-athlete Adam Kamis was jailed 38 months for vice-related offences and recruiting a child for sexual exploitation.
The 37-year-old motivational speaker, better known as the "one-armed runner", was convicted last week of 11 charges under the Women's Charter and one under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act. Another 22 charges were considered during his sentencing.
Adam, who lost his right arm and had his left arm paralysed in a motorcycle accident in 2003, took to running and even represented Singapore in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.
Early in 2013, however, struggling under debt, he set up an escort agency, SG Freelancers. It operated through a website known as Uniquely Singapore and he used it to offer sexual services of women he employed. Using the moniker Angel Tan, he recruited women over Facebook by offering them well-paying freelance jobs. The women were asked to accompany male clients, chat with them and provide them "physical relief/release'' by engaging in protected sex with them.
Prospective employees were asked to fill up a questionnaire and e-mail it to him along with their photos. He then invited these women to his Yishun home, examined their bodies and had sex with them on the pretext of "testing" them.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said Adam would introduce himself as a handler for SG Freelancers and brief the women on what was expected of them.
While he would not receive a commission for the first client, he expected a 5 per cent to 50 per cent commission for subsequent clients.
He would then create an online profile for the women who agreed to work for the agency on Craigslist and Locanto to advertise their services. Between early 2013 and October last year, he secured only five clients for the women he engaged.
The 34 women who responded to his ads were attracted by the prospect of quick financial gain that prostitution provides, said the DPP.
District Judge Lim Keng Yeow imposed nine-month jail sentences on each charge Adam faced of either procuring or attempting to procure a woman for prostitution. For recruiting a 16-year-old student for exploitation, Adam was given 20 months' jail, which will run consecutively with two of the nine-month jail terms.
Adam's wife, Ms Ally Kuan, who is in her 30s, was shocked to learn of all the charges, said the couple's counsellor, Mr Jeffrey Mak. "Her husband did not reveal all these things to her," he said.
Ms Kuan, who cared for Adam in his daily life, is worried about how he will cope in prison and hopes to apologise to the women involved in the case as well, he added.
• Additional reporting by Seow Bei Yi