Vice webmaster gets 13 months' jail and $27k fine for living on immoral earnings

SINGAPORE - A 54-year-old man started four websites in September 2012, and used them to advertise sexual services of women working as freelance prostitutes.

While out on court bail in July 2014 after his arrest in March that year, Andrew Lim Kim Lwee engaged one of his contacts to create a further website.

He began operating this website and again advertised freelance prostitutes, who paid him advertising fees. He posted links and advertisements on sammyboy forum.

The vice webmaster made about $152,000 in total from managing the five websites.

On Friday (April 15), Lim was sentenced to 13 months' jail and fined a total of $27,000 after he had admitted to nine charges of living on immoral earnings. Another 14 charges of living and attempting to live on prostitution earnings were considered in sentencing.

In September 2012, Lim enlisted the help of an unknown Chinese national to set up the four websites in return for a yearly subscription fee.

He would arrange to meet prostitutes at their places of lodging or at hotel rooms to take suggestive and explicit photographs for their profiles on the websites.

He would advise them what to wear, what type of photographs to take and upload. He would also ask them, among other things, about the types of services they could consider providing and how much to charge their customers.

The prostitutes who managed their own bookings and arrangements with paying customers paid him $350 a month from their earnings to maintain their online profiles and advertise their services.

Lim could have up to about 100 women advertising their paid services on the websites at any one time. He told police that his estimated earnings was $110,000 to $120,000 from running the websites.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Soo Tet said Lim was the sole operator and administrator of the four websites from September 2012 till his arrest in March 2014.

Apart from advertising on online adult chat forums, Lim engaged Gregory Teo Wee Hiang, 40, to create and post "field reports" for the prostitutes. These were descriptions and reviews of the women's sexual services and the writer's experiences with them.

While out on court bail in July 2014, Lim reoffended and ran a fifth website - posting links and advertisements on sammyboy forum.

Sometime in January last year, he approached Soh Ah Guan, 36, to enter into a partnership to jointly run the website.

"He was concerned as he was the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings against him and wanted someone to assist in the continued operation of the website in the event that he had to serve an imprisonment term,'' said DPP Tan.

Lim told Soh they would share the profits equally. They ran the website for about two months.

In his police statement, Lim said there would be at least 50 prostitutes advertising their sexual services on the website at any one point, and that he earned at least $42,000 between July 2014 and February las tyear.

In passing sentence, District Judge Luke Tan noted Lim's extensive role during the 1½ years of operation such as the number of websites and customers.

Referring to his second set of offences, he said: "He barely left the court and was embarking on a whole new round of offences."

The fact that Lim earned around $42,000 through the short period suggested that his vice business was "clearly booming", said the judge.

Lim, represented by Mr Anil Singh, could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000 per charge.

This article was first published on April 15, 2016.
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