Online vice syndicate busted in 8-hour crackdown

Faris Mokhtar

An 8-hour island-wide operation on Wednesday saw the police cracked down an online vice syndicate, arresting 23 people suspected to be involved in its operations.

In its statement on Thursday, the police said the operation carried out by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Police Intelligence Department (PID) also uncovered a location believed to be the syndicate’s main operating centre.

This location, a private condominium in the West, was used as a call centre which manages phone bookings for prostitution services.

Following extensive intelligence probes, police said that raids were conducted at various locations in the Western and Central parts of the island. These started at noon and lasted around eight hours.

Around 23 people, comprising 11 men and 12 women aged between 24 and 38-years-old, have been apprehended.

Items such as cash, laptops, bank books, ATM cards and transaction records discovered on site were also seized for investigation purposes. Police added that investigations are currently on-going.

Senior assistant commissioner of police and director of CID Hoong Wee Teck highlighted that the operation is part of the authorities’ continuous efforts to clamp down on vice activities.

He said, “Those who think they can get away with such illicit activities under the guise of the Internet are mistaken. The police will continue to take strong enforcement action to weed them out, regardless of their mode of operation.”

Those guilty of offences relating to prostitution under Chapter 353, Section 140 of the Women’s Charter can be fined up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years.