A 31-year-old Chinese national was on Monday (12 February) jailed for two weeks for taking photographs of prostitutes that were meant to advertise their services online.
Chen Jin Jin, who has been working as a technician in Singapore for the past seven-and-a-half years, pleaded guilty in the State Courts to one charge of receiving gratification to aid in prostitution activities.
The amateur photographer, who had showcased his photos on social media platform WeChat, was first approached by female Chinese nationals around October last year to take photos of them in “sexy poses”, court documents showed.
After making appointments with them via WeChat, Chen would meet these female Chinese nationals at private apartments in Geylang, HDB flats around Balestier Road or even hotel rooms for the photoshoots. He had charged them $150 each for nine photographs.
These photos would then be sent to the Webmasters of various sites advertising prostitution services who would upload them onto their sites, along with the women’s contact details and the fees for their sexual services.
Over a period of four months, Chen was engaged by about 12 female Chinese nationals to take photographs of them and had earned about $1,500 in the process.
On one such occasion, Chen was approached by a pair of female Chinese nationals on 10 January this year via a recommendation by the Webmaster of one such website.
Wang Yiqun, 42, and Tan Li, 41, had arrived in Singapore three days prior to engage in prostitution activities. They had heard from their friends in China that they could come to Singapore to work as prostitutes by advertising their sexual services on certain websites.
Upon their arrival, they had paid a Webmaster, who went by the moniker “Xiao Lang Ren” on WeChat, RMB4,000 (S$632) to list their services on two websites for a month.
The two women later decided to take another set of photographs for the websites as they felt that the ones that they had taken on their own were not “sexy and appealing enough”, the court heard.
They contacted “Xiao Lang Ren” who then suggested that they approach Chen directly.
The duo made an appointment via WeChat with Chen for a photo session at Spottiswoode Park – where they were lodging – on 11 January. In the midst of the session and before payment was made to Chen, police officers raided the unit and detained the trio.
Because the recommendation came specifically from “Xiao Lang Ren”, Chen was aware that the women were involved in prostitution activities and that the photos would be used for the advertisement of such services, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chan Yi Cheng.
The prosecution had recommended a sentence of more than two weeks as Chen had knowingly taken photos for the purpose of advertising prostitution services “multiple times” across four months.
“Taking photos is one of my interests and hobbies… it is out of greed that I did this,” Chen, who was unrepresented, said via a Chinese interpreter.
His sentence has been backdated to 26 January to include his time in remand. For his offence, Chen could have been jailed up to five years and fined up to $10,000.