Friday, August 12 2022

SINGAPORE — While working as an installation agent at the Rocca Balestier condominium, Tan Chor Koon set up a massage point in a store and asked two women in their 50s to provide sexual services to customers.

He received almost S$10,000 from their prostitution business and also took money from them to advertise their services online.

He further capitalized on his work, monitoring people around the area through the building’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and alerting his employees to possible police raids.

On Monday July 25, Tan, 47, was jailed for seven months and two weeks and fined S$2,850.

The Singaporean pleaded guilty to three charges under the Women’s Charter, including running the unit as a brothel, as well as another offense of running an unlicensed massage establishment.

Eight other similar charges were considered for sentencing.

The two Singaporean women who worked for him, aged 55 and 57, cannot be named due to gag orders to protect their identities.

The court heard they worked at the JT beauty salon in the Rocca Balestier mixed-use development, located along Balestier Road. Tan began operating the outlet in May 2019.

He registered it with the Business Accounting and Regulatory Authority as a beauty salon and spa, but the outlet on the ground floor did not provide these services.

Tan did not dictate the price the two women should charge their customers, but they were to pay him 40 Singapore dollars for each one they served. He received around S$9,850 this way.

The women charged their clients between S$110 and S$180 for services that included massage with sex.

Shortly after starting to work there, they noticed they couldn’t secure walk-in customers because the store’s glass panel was covered in stickers that prevented people from looking inside. .

In order to attract more customers and earn more, they asked Tan to advertise their services online. He agreed and told them to split the advertising costs – S$400 per month for each advertisement – equally between them and himself.

He then advertised their services on the website “Sglonelyguy”, which promotes the services of sex workers. When women told him they were concerned about some of the services listed in the ads, he changed them.

Tan also created chat groups on WhatsApp and WeChat messaging platforms to manage operations. They included the two women, his girlfriend, himself and others.

At the end of each day, the two women would place his share of their winnings in a drawer in the massage shop or personally hand over the winnings to him.

The older woman handed over around S$3,000 between August and November 2019.

He asked them to report their clients’ booking times in the chat groups, and they also told him if they needed to take a day off or show up later.

On one occasion, he told them to dispose of used condoms that had been discarded in a bin on the unit.

He was also granted access to the building’s fire command center where the CCTV monitors were located.

He was employed by Rocco Balestier’s management as an installation agent to look after the day-to-day management and operation of the building.

Although he had no right to control the CCTV cameras, he used them to monitor the outlet and its perimeter, looking for people who might be police officers and alerting the two women to possible raids.

On October 21, 2019, he saw a man hanging around and taking photos of a second floor unit.

He took a picture of the man on the CCTV monitor and sent it to the women, telling them to remember the man’s face and asking them to delete the messages after reading them.

Four days later, he spotted another person and posted warning messages to newsgroups.

When he approached the person to verify the purpose of his visit, he alerted the groups that the way was clear.

Officers from the Tanglin Police Division eventually raided the outlet on November 7, 2019. Tan was arrested the same day.

For living partly off the earnings of prostitution, Tan could have been imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to S$10,000.

For running a brothel, he could have been fined up to S$3,000 or jailed for up to three years, or both.

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