Singapore: Former police officer stands trial for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with sex-workers without disclosing his status

February 18, 2019

Published in Today online on February 13, 2019

Ex-police officer convicted of having sex with prostitutes without informing them of HIV status

SINGAPORE — A former police officer with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) rented a condominium unit in Geylang in January 2017 for S$1,700 a month, intending for his partner to live there.

But she disappeared.

Wanting to rent the unit out, the man, then aged 50, advertised it for S$80 a day on a chat group on messaging application WeChat. The group’s participants were mainly sex workers.

One worker, then aged 31, contacted him on June 19, 2017 and they met the next day.

She told him she had to use the unit as she had been arrested for vice activities earlier that year, and had been issued a special pass by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to assist with investigations. She needed to earn money to support herself and for her family in China.

The man sought her sexual services and duped her into believing he was a police officer when he was really a security guard. He did not tell her he has HIV-positive and she agreed because she did not wish to get into more trouble with the law.

On Wednesday (Feb 13), the man pleaded guilty to four charges — two under the Infectious Diseases Act, and two under the Women’s Charter for using the apartment as a brothel and living off the earnings of a prostitute.

Seven other similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing when he returns to court on April 5.

The man and his victims cannot be named due to a court order.

Court documents stated that the man suspected he had contracted HIV in 2003 but was diagnosed in May 2008 at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The court heard that the first victim moved into the condominium unit on June 22, 2017, after paying the man S$800, which she had earned from providing sexual services at other spots in Geylang following her arrest.

He contacted her that day to again engage her for sex, but they had an argument when he suspected that she had allowed her partner to stay over at the unit.

Furious, he told her that it was a “work room, not a love nest”, and raised her rental fees to S$100 a day.

A day later, he ordered her to move out and threatened to call the police if she refused. He returned S$600 to her.

The man similarly leased the unit to two other Chinese nationals aged 33 and 39, and had sex with them without telling them about his HIV status. They used the apartment to provide sexual services in June and July 2017, after the first victim moved out.

Police officers from the Bedok Police Divisional Headquarters raided the unit and arrested one of the women on July 4.

The other woman was arrested on July 11 when Criminal Investigation Department officers ambushed the man’s workplace at a shopping mall and then raided the apartment again.

For engaging in sexual activity without informing the women of their risk of contracting HIV and obtaining their consent, the man could be fined up to S$50,000 and jailed up to 10 years for each charge.

For running a brothel at his rental unit, he could be jailed up to three years or fined up to S$3,000.

He could be jailed up to five years and fined up to S$10,000 for living off the earnings of a prostitute.