Serial conman cheated 10 women, including sex workers who were not paid for services

SINGAPORE - A serial conman, who was given seven years' corrective training in 2013 after cheating multiple women, continued to dupe 10 more of over $72,000 after he was released from prison in 2020.

Tan Chip Huat, 49, targeted his latest victims from January to August last year, and they included at least four sex workers whom he failed to pay after having unprotected sex.

He stated on online classifieds website Locanto that he was looking for a "sugar baby" and claimed to be working in the finance industry, earning about $60,000 a month.

Sugar babies is a term used to describe younger people who are willing to spend time with rich older men - sugar daddies - in exchange for cash and gifts.

In fact, Tan was a former cleaner who drew an average monthly salary of less than $2,000. He was also jobless in January and February last year.

On Monday (July 25), he pleaded guilty to seven charges for offences including cheating involving five victims and some $46,000.

Thirteen charges linked to the remaining amount, including those involving the other five women, will be considered during sentencing.

The judge has called for a report to assess his suitability for another round of corrective training.

The punishment is reserved for repeat offenders and does not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.

Among Tan's victims were three 17-year-olds who knew one another.

On Jan 4 last year, he got to know his first victim after the student responded to his Locanto post, which stated that he was looking for a "long-term sugar girlfriend" and offering $5,000 a month.

Tan claimed that he was willing to sponsor her tuition fees at an arts school, amounting to $20,000 in exchange for sexual services.

They met at D'Hotel Singapore in Outram Road the next day and had unprotected sex.

Before checking out, Tan promised to hand her $10,000 first and even convinced her to loan him $400 after he claimed to have insufficient cash on him.

The promised monies never materialised, the court heard.

Later that month, he asked to meet the teenager again but she was unavailable. She introduced him to a sales promoter who agreed to have sex with him in exchange for $1,000.

Tan met her in Robertson Quay Hotel in Merbau Road and they had unprotected sex. Similarly, he failed to pay this second victim.

According to the first victim, Tan told the student that he would withhold her payment unless another person could keep him company.

She panicked and approached the third victim, her close friend who was working as a social escort at the time.

He also told the first victim that he could expose her friend as a social escort if he did not receive a $500 loan. The first victim then handed him the amount.

Tan had sex with the third victim, who was also a student, at Hotel Royal in Newton Road on Jan 13 last year but did not give her the promised $3,000.

By using a similar method, he cheated a fourth victim, a 23-year-old social escort, in July last year.

He offered to pay her $6,000 a month so that she would be his "sugar baby". He also handed her a cheque and asked her to write $10,000 as the amount she would receive.

It later bounced and she alerted the police on July 19 last year.

In an unrelated case, Tan met a 25-year-old woman, who was looking for casual sexual encounters on Locanto, and cheated her of over $11,000. He used her credit card to buy items including Apple iPhones.

Court documents did not state if she was a sex worker.

Tan will be sentenced next month.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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