Married man pretended to be pimp to get free sex from social escorts, threatened to leak girlfriend's intimate photos online

Chen Zelin, who has a young child, threatened his girlfriend and called her a sex slave with no rights. She later made a police report.

A Singaporean man duped two social escorts into thinking he was a pimp to get sexual services for free or at a discount. (Photos: Getty Images)
A Singaporean man duped two social escorts into thinking he was a pimp to get sexual services for free or at a discount. (Photos: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A married Singaporean man duped two social escorts into thinking he was a pimp to get sexual services for free or at a discount, by telling them that a “trial or “interview” was required before he could get them paying jobs.

Chen Zelin, who has a young child, also got his girlfriend to be his “sex slave” by threatening to release intimate photos of her, local media outlet Today reported.

The 42-year-old was sentenced to two years and eight months’ jail on Tuesday (16 April), after he pled guilty to two charges of cheating by impersonation and one charge of threatening to distribute an intimate image.

The victims cannot be named due to a gag order protecting their identities.

Told the women he needed a test “trial” of their services

Today reported that Chen first placed an advertisement on online platform Locanto, pretending to be an agent looking to recruit social escorts to his agency in 2020.

A 40-year-old woman contacted Chen in October, and he told her that he could get her up to 10 clients a week, but needed a “trial” of her services.

She agreed to charge him $60 instead of her usual rate of up to $450, and the pair had sex together on 14 October at a hotel in Upper Serangoon Road, reported Today.

However, Chen did not contact the first victim until 4 April 2021. He then told her that her services were not “up to expectations”, and asked for a second trial, said Deputy Public Prosecutor June Ngian.

This was when the woman realised that Chen might not be an agent, as agents do not usually ask for a second trial, and she stopped communication with him.

A second woman, who was working as a social escort to pay off her debts after being scammed, approached Chen in 2021 after seeing his advertisement.

Similarly, he asked to interview her to assess if she possessed “the skills to please customers”.

The 20-year-old had sex with Chen in the same Upper Serangoon Road hotel, after which he told her that she needed “training sessions” and to lose weight before she could service his clients.

Threatened to release intimate photos of girlfriend

In July 2021, Chen started dating a 34-year-old woman, after seeing her post about looking for a house to rent and a boyfriend on a mobile application.

A few weeks after they started dating, Chen asked the Chinese national over WhatsApp to choose between him taking a video of her performing a sexual act, or having sex without protection. As she “felt threatened” by the idea of Chen filming her, she chose the latter.

Three days later, he asked to take sexual videos and photographs of her, threatening to show her employer their sex-related conversations if she refused.

Fearing the repercussions if others saw the messages, she allowed him to take the photos he wanted, including one that showed her passport information.

Chen then used these images to threaten her further on WhatsApp on 31 July 2021, calling her a “sex slave” with “no rights” and telling her that he would make the photos public unless she “served” him.

According to Today, Chen made the same threat again two days later, and the woman made a police report.

He used “lowly methods”: DPP

DPP Ngian sought a total of up to 46 months’ jail for the accused – up to 19 months for each charge of cheating and up to eight months’ for threatening to distribute intimate images, Today reported.

She said that the three women were victims of Chen’s “self-serving practices and lowly methods of obtaining personal gain or sexual gratification with little regard or respect for their personhood”.

Chen could have faced up to five years’ jail, a fine and caning for threatening to distribute an intimate image and up to five years’ jail and a fine for cheating by personation.

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