Ex-police officer with HIV admits to hiding condition from prostitutes he demanded sex from

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, it is an offence for HIV-positive persons to not inform their partners of their condition before engaging in sexual activity with them.
The 52-year-old former police officer had also threatened to create trouble for one of the prostitutes if she did not provide her services to him. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

He rented out his one-bedroom Geylang flat to three prostitutes and demanded sexual services from two of them. However, he wilfully avoided informing the women that he carried the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The 52-year-old former police officer had also threatened to create trouble for one of the prostitutes if she did not provide her services to him.

At the State Courts on Wednesday (13 February), he pleaded guilty to one count of living off the earnings of prostitutes and one count of letting his rental unit be used as a brothel. He also admitted to two counts of engaging in sexual activity without informing the other party of his HIV status.

Another four counts of the same nature will be taken into consideration for his sentencing.

The man’s name cannot be revealed due to a court-imposed gag order.

Under the Infectious Diseases Act, HIV-positive persons are obliged, prior to sexual intercourse, to inform their partners of their condition and to obtain their acknowledgement of the risks involved. A person who fails to do so can be fined up to $50,000 or jailed up to 10 years, or both.

Demanded sexual services from renters

In January 2017, the man – who then worked as a security guard – began renting the one-bedroom flat in Geylang with the intention of letting his partner live there. When his partner later disappeared, he then advertised the unit in a group chat that was populated largely by prostitutes.

On 19 June that year, a 33-year-old Chinese national told the man that she wanted to rent the unit to carry out sexual services.

When the two met days later to discuss the terms of the lease, the man asked her for sex. He used his status as a former police officer to persuade the woman, who agreed out of fear of getting into trouble with the law.

They had protected sex after the woman insisted that the man use a condom. She was not paid for her services.

The two then agreed on terms for the rental of the flat for the woman’s work.

On 22 June, the man again requested to have sex with the woman but the latter put off the appointment. The man then accused the woman of allowing her partner to stay at the flat.

He also increased the woman’s daily rental fee, telling her that the unit was “a work room, not a love nest”, according to the prosecution.

The man chased the woman out the next day, threatening to call the police on her. He refunded her the balance of $600 before the woman left.

The man allowed a second woman, a 39-year-old China national, to rent the unit for the same purpose between 24 June and 4 July.

A third woman, another 33-year-old female China national, rented the flat between 5 July and 11 July.

The man engaged in sexual activities with the third woman without telling her that he was HIV positive.

According to the prosecution, both sex workers would not have engaged in sex with the man had they been aware of his HIV status.

E-mail to MOH

On 4 April 2017, the man sent an e-mail to the Ministry of Health (MOH) stating he had had sex with a prostitute whom he suspected of having a sexually transmitted disease. He requested that the authorities investigate and repatriate the prostitute.

Four days later, he e-mailed MOH again and revealed that he was HIV positive and that the condom he wore had broken while he was having sex with the prostitute he previously mentioned.

This information was brought to the attention of the MOH’s Surveillance and Enforcement Branch for further investigations.

The man first suspected that he had contracted HIV in Thailand in 2003 but did not seek treatment or confirm diagnosis until May 2008, when he was formally diagnosed with the disease.

Accused’s viral load ‘not detectable’

Between December 2016 and July 2017, the man’s HIV viral load was “not detectable” – meaning that he had low to no chance of infecting his sexual partners. He had been consistently obtaining HIV medication during this period.

In total, the man collected some $2,500 from all three women and used the money for personal expenses.

The 39-year-old woman was arrested on 4 July after police officers conducted a raid at the unit. The man was arrested on 11 July when police officers ambushed him at his workplace.

He was brought to the unit where another woman was arrested for providing sexual services.

The man is expected to be sentenced on 5 April.

For running a brothel at his rental unit, the man can be jailed up to three years or fined up to $3,000. For living off the earnings of a prostitute, he could be jailed up to five years and fined up to $10,000.

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