For nearly five years, the owner of a digital media company ran a prostitution ring involving 16 Singapore women that grossed an estimated $600,000.
Danny Ang, 37, known as Charlie or Leslie to the women involved, also operated a model agency and used its website to sell their sexual services before he was caught.
He was jailed for 23 months and fined $160,000, after admitting to 10 charges of living off the earnings of prostitutes and six counts of procuring women for prostitution over 57 months until September 2015.
District Judge Mathew Joseph said, in decision grounds issued last week, that "the model agency was really an online vice syndicate" and "during the course of his lucrative vice career, (Ang) had earned revenues of about $618,724 from pimping the women under his charge".
Ang earned $398,250 in relation to the 16 proceeded charges, and consented to 16 other, similar charges being taken into consideration for sentencing purposes.
He used his digital expertise to create and manage a site called www.model2nite.com, which advertised the services of the sex workers as those of social escorts.
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers nabbed Ang and co-accused Lee Shiun Jean, 52, in a two-hour raid across three locations on Oct 13, 2015, during which several women were also detained. Lee is being dealt with separately.
Eight of the women, aged 22 to 29, provided witness evidence, among them "Jacintha", 25, for whom Ang secured 15 clients over about six months. Her booking rate was $2,000 an hour, and she handed about $15,000 of her earnings to Ang, who used it for daily expenses.
Deputy Public Prosecutor N.K. Anitha showed the sums paid by 14 women who, between December 2010 and September 2015, serviced about 500 bookings. Ang took a cut from each booking. For instance, a "Fion", 22, paid him $111,250 for 89 bookings serviced.
Ang's lawyer, Mr Anand Nalachandran, urged the court to mitigate the jail term and fine, pointing out that he had pleaded guilty and suffered various medical ailments.
District Judge Joseph said "the scale of his business, the profits earned from the sexual services of the women, the sheer number of women involved, must clearly also attract a deterrent sentence".
"These are offences that clearly cause feelings of outrage and revulsion to the community, and the sentence must adequately reflect that feeling," the judge added.
Ang was sentenced to five months in jail for each of 15 charges and eight months for the remaining charge. The judge directed three of the five-month terms and the eight-month term to run consecutively, while the remainder will run concurrently. Ang was also fined $10,000 per charge and allowed bail pending an appeal.
This article was first published on March 3, 2017.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.