Singapore: Landlady faces 14 weeks' jail term for renting property at People's Park Complex to prostitutes

Prostitution (Representational picture) Reuters

A 45-year-old Singaporean landlady was sentenced to 14 weeks' jail term, including a fine of $8,000 for renting her property at People's Park Complex to the tenants, who used the place for vice-related activities.

Reports said that earlier it was believed that the woman, Beh Dien Dien had received eight police warnings for keeping unknown tenants at that complex, without checking their backgrounds. But in a 13-day trial, the court came to know that she knew that those tenants were using the place for prostitution purpose.

The District Judge Ong Chin Rhu found Dien guilty on April, under two charges- living on the earnings of prostitution and renting out a property knowing that it would be used as a brothel.

During the hearing, Nicholas Lai, the Deputy Public Prosecutor said that the accused owns the unit and another property on the 19th storey of the Chinatown block. She also rented from two more units, while one was from the 17th storey, the other one was on the 25th storey in the same building. Reports stated there was total 27 room in the complex but, Dien and her family used to stay somewhere else.

However, when a sex worker was arrested for vice-related activities in one of the properties owned by Dien on the 19th storey, the accused moved her tenant, who was a Chinese national to another flat on the eighth floor. Then Dien asked the women to find a man, who will sign the rental agreement on her behalf, as she wanted to avoid the police case. Eventually, a man, Luo Jin signed the legal papers.

DPP Lai told the court that this incident showed that Dien tried to mislead the police to prevent the arrest of the sex worker again, by using the man, Jin. Between November 2015 and March 2016, she earned a total amount of $8,600 from the Chinese national and another China-born woman.

He clarified that Dien knew the job profile of her tenants and she did not do anything about the prostitution work because she wanted to maximise the profit.

Later, police arrested those Chinese sex workers in March 2016. Dien was offered a bail of $20,000, she is currently appealing against her punishment.

In Singapore, prostitution is considered as an illegal activity but, pimping and public solicitation is not. In 2016, a man was sentenced to jail for 85 months and fined S$130,000 for running an online vice-ring. He also faced charges for avoiding S$26,964.65 in income tax.

This article was first published on May 16, 2018