Financial hardship is no excuse to commit crime, District Judge Eddy Tham said on Monday as he jailed a pimp's lookout for five months and fined him $30,000.
Ricky Foo Kee Kiong, 31 - who was "trapped in poverty", his lawyer claimed - had been paid $50 a day to ride his motorbike around Geylang and warn the pimp of any police presence.
He was arrested on July 13 last year, but while out on bail went into the prostitution business himself.
He was found out when the police raided a lodging house in Jalan Molek in Geylang and detained two Vietnamese prostitutes.
Foo's mobile phone number surfaced during investigations and one of the women told police that she handed about $900 of her prostitution earnings to him between Aug 4 and Sept 6 last year.
He pleaded guilty to obstructing the course of justice by acting as a lookout for a vice syndicate, living off the earnings of prostitution and assisting a loan shark.
He was being investigated for assisting a loan shark when he became the pimp's lookout in March last year.
Pleading for a lenient sentence, defence counsel Foo Ho Chew said his client resorted to illegal activities to pay the medical fees of his cancer-stricken mother and the instalments of the family's flat.
But Judge Tham said: "Such financial difficulties cannot be sufficient reason to commit crime."
He added that there were legitimate avenues to seek help.
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