Ex-police officer with sterling career jailed for vice activities

SINGAPORE - A former staff sergeant decided to set up a pub after a sterling 20-year career with the Singapore Armed Forces.

But within three years, Face 2 Face in Jalan Besar went belly up when it was investigated for vice activities.

On Monday, Muralidharan Pillai's fall from grace was complete when he was jailed for a year.

The 53-year-old had pleaded guilty in April to offences that included procuring and harbouring six Filipino women for prostitution and living off their earnings.

A district court had heard that on Oct 15, 2011, a social worker informed police that three women were being forced to work as prostitutes at the pub and that they had passed a note to a neighbour seeking help.

Two days later, police raided an apartment in Bendemeer and found seven Filipino women in the rooms.

Six of them admitted to working as hostesses and prostitutes at the pub. Two were on social visit passes, while the rest held work permits allowing them to work as performing artistes at the pub.

One of the women was an agent who procured women from the Philippines for the pub.

Muralidharan and the pub's cashier, Law Puay Si, 39, were arrested on Oct 17 that year.

Court papers indicate that the women did not receive a salary but received half of the payment for drinks bought for them by patrons.

The women were also allowed to leave the pub to have sex with customers, for which they would charge between $250 and $350. They would keep half of it and give the rest to Muralidharan.

Investigations revealed that a 35-year-old performing artiste, who worked at the pub between May and October 2011, handed over a total of $13,000 to him.

Each woman also had to pay $13 a day to reside at the apartment at Opal Crescent.

Pleading for a lenient sentence, defence counsel N. Kanagavijayan said that his client served in the Singapore Armed Forces from 1977 to 1997. He had then been in the navy until 1983 before serving with the Military Security Department of the Ministry of Defence.

He then went into the food catering business and set up the pub in 2008 soon after he married a Filipino. He has a five-year-old son.

The lawyer also said his client is facing bankruptcy proceedings.

For living on the prostitution earnings of another person, he could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000.

Law is claiming trial and the case has yet to be heard. The Filipino women have been deported.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.