Private cab driver who sublet condo units to prostitutes jailed, fined

Wan Ting Koh
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He rented condominiums units across Singapore for the purpose of sub-letting them to prostitutes who needed a place to ply their trade.

Benson Goh Wee Ming, a Singaporean private cab driver, formed the plan after a female prostitute he had engaged told him that there were always prostitutes looking to rent units for lodging and their work.

After reaching out to prostitutes through a middleman, he would find apartments for them and charge them daily rates.

Goh, 37, was sentenced to nine months jail and fined $10,000 on Friday (17 August) after he earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of living on the earnings of a prostitute and one count of knowingly letting the units be used as a brothel as a lessee. Five separate counts were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

As Goh was not able to pay the fine, he will have to serve five weeks’ jail in lieu.

Police investigations revealed that in March last year, while engaging a Chinese national prostitute, he learned from her that there was a demand for rental units from female prostitutes. The female prostitute proposed that he rent and sublet a unit to other prostitutes as he would be able to earn twice the amount of the rental.

Goh agreed and began posting advertisements on online platforms looking for tenants to rent units under their names for him. He then directed people who responded to sign tenancy agreements and paid them $500 to $800 each. After obtaining the keys, Goh would sublet the rooms to female Chinese nationals and charged them between $90 and $120 daily.

He rented out three condominium units in Changi, Paya Lebar and Geylang East Avenue vicinities in July last year and collected a total of $8,400 in earnings from the prostitutes.

The police raided the Geylang unit on 2 August last year and arrested the tenants. Goh was identified as the landlord. When Goh came to the unit to collect rental money the following day, he was arrested.

Goh’s lawyer S Radakrishnan said that Goh was a family man who was “simply trying to make ends meet” as the sole breadwinner. Goh and his wife are expecting their second child in January next year.

“(Goh) originally believed that his relationship with the tenants were strictly landlord and tenant. He did not enquire into their private matters, including whether or not they provided sexual services,” said the lawyer.

For living on the earnings of prostitutes, Goh could have been jailed up to five years and fined up to $10,000 on each count. For knowingly letting the unit be used as a brothel, he could have been jailed up to three years and fined a maximum $3,000.