A man who ran a highly sophisticated and organised vice syndicate, making more than $1 million in four years, was sentenced to 35 months' jail yesterday.
Ang Boon Seng was also fined $14,000 on each of seven charges under the Employment of Foreigner Act, for a total of $98,000.
The 40-year-old father of six was also ordered to pay $3,600 he received from a foreigner as a condition for employing her at Space Club LLP, one of nine pubs that he ran.
Ang's wife, Filipina Anne Asuncion Ylarde, 31, a permanent resident, was jailed for 10 weeks on two charges of bringing in women from the Philippines to work as prostitutes in Singapore.
Acting on a tip-off last August, police busted Ang's nine pubs at Orchard Plaza and Cuppage Plaza for vice activities and arrested 68 people.
Ang started out with one pub - Tokyo Drift in Orchard Plaza - in mid-2009, and opened eight more pubs when his business prospered. He employed 55 women as performing artists, who were recruited by managers of the pubs via agents in the Philippines.
Before coming here, the Filipinas were told that they had to fulfil a verbal contract, known as "utang" (debt in Tagalog), and would be paid only after they had fulfilled it, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao.
The Filipinas had to sell "ladies drinks", costing between $22 and $55, to customers to earn points. Each point was worth $4.
They would offer services such as oral sex to those who bought a minimum amount of "ladies drinks". Customers could also pay a "bar fine" of at least $200 to take a woman out for activities, including supper, shopping and sex.
To avoid detection, Ang asked one of his 17 employees to set up closed-circuit television cameras in and around the pubs and to link live video feeds to his office.
He also provided accommodation for the women, who each paid him 40 points a week.
Ang made a monthly profit of at least $27,000 and, in good times, up to $60,000. Of the estimated $1.08 million profit made from his nine pubs over the last few years, he claimed that about 40 per cent came from prostitution earnings.
Pressing for a stiff sentence, DPP Tan highlighted aggravating factors - the scale of the syndicate, the substantial profits reaped by Ang, and the difficulty in detecting such offences.
District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said Ang played a pivotal role in this sophisticated syndicate that operated transnationally, and benefited substantially from running the illegal enterprise.
Ang had pleaded guilty to 43 vice-related charges, and seven brought by the Manpower Ministry for demanding a sum of money from each of the Filipinas for employing them. The remaining 189 criminal charges were considered in sentencing.
Ylarde, who has been married to Ang for five years, began her sentence yesterday, while Ang will start his on Dec 22.
This article was first published on Oct 14, 2014.
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