He was serving a prison term when he became acquainted with a fellow inmate who taught him how to operate a social escort company.
Upon his release in 2011, Roderic Chen Hao Ran, 32, decided to set up an employment agency but the business did not do well and he racked up debts.
Faced with this escalating debt, Chen decided to use the knowledge that he had gained while he was incarcerated and started an online social escort business in 2015.
He was eventually caught in July 2016 and on Thursday (9 March) pleaded guilty at a district court to nine charges under the Womens’ Charter for living in part on the earnings of prostitution. Eighteen other similar charges were taken into consideration.
Reading from the Statement of Facts, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong said that Chen started his business in 2015 and posted advertisements online through Facebook and other social media for his social escorts.
Hourly rate of S$450-S$650
DPP Wong said that Chen met a co-accused, Lee Soon Ann, in 2015 and they agreed to cooperate and share the social escorts under their charge as well as the commissions. According to the court statement, Lee will be dealt with separately.
Chen and Lee started operating their business providing prostitutes via their website for an hourly rate of between S$450 and S$650.
The duo would take a cut of about 40 per cent from each woman per assignment. The two men would then share that cut.
The police, acting on a tip-off, eventually raided Chen’s house in Compassvale Walk on 27 July 2016 and he was subsequently arrested.
DPP Wong said that Chen, who is represented by his lawyer, Choo Si Sen, garnered an estimated S$24,900 from his vice activities, raking in about S$5,000 a month and some S$150,000 in total over the period of operations.
Chen will be sentenced on 6 April.