Viet woman jailed for running vice business

A Vietnamese woman who, with her husband, ran a well-organised vice enterprise, which raked in prostitution earnings of $25,000 to $28,000 a month, was jailed for 29 months yesterday.

Huynh Thi Kieu Trang, 35, who faced 103 charges, pleaded guilty to 34 counts of living on prostitution earnings, harbouring women procured for prostitution, receiving them at Changi Airport, and obstructing the course of justice.

She and her husband, Quek Choon Leong, 34, who is also facing multiple vice-related charges, ran the operation for about two years until their arrest on July 23, 2013.

Quek's case was postponed to Sept 17 so he can arrange childcare for their two children, aged eight and seven.

Huynh, who first came to Singapore in 2005, initially provided accommodation for Vietnamese hostesses or prostitutes at rented premises in Geylang. Around mid-2010, a freelance prostitute told the couple she earned more as a prostitute than as a hostess.

The following year, Huynh suggested to her husband that they propose to their tenants to work as prostitutes under them. This meant the women would hand over a share of their earnings in return for accommodation, meals and help in extending their stay here.

Quek initially opposed the idea as he thought the women would have to split their earnings equally with the couple, which would be unfair to them.

He agreed after his wife told him it was "trade practice" for prostitutes to hand over $10 per $70 to $80 earned from each customer.

On average, the couple had about 20 Vietnamese women working under them each month. Altogether, 32 women were involved.

She employed several helpers, including two agents in Vietnam, as contacts to recruit attractive women. The women had to sign tenancy agreements and would incur a financial penalty if they broke any "rules".

Huynh also hired lookouts for law enforcement officers in Geylang so she could warn her workers.

A caretaker was also engaged to provide massage, manicure, pedicure and hair-perming services to the prostitutes, who would pay $3 to $10 for each service

This article was first published on Aug 19, 2015.
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