Knotty knotty: Three jailed and fined for running illegal sex massage parlours

A woman was sentenced to jail and fined for operating unlicensed massage parlours which offered “extra” services yesterday. 

Two other men who were fronting the business also received a jail sentence and fined for their crimes. 

Shady past

41-year-old China national Hu Jiaochan, first opened a massage parlour in Beach Road in December 2016 where she employed co-accused Zhang Yan as a masseuse.

Two years later, the two women decided to work together to operate massage establishments and went on to open one called 82 Beauty Atrium at Horne Road in Jalan Besar. 

The two then engaged 52-year-old Chia Choon Huat to front the business – otherwise known as a “dua pek gong” or fall guy in the industry. The term refers to men – usually older – hired to take the rap if they faced any trouble with the law. 

Chia used his personal information, including his Singpass and NRIC details to register as the sole proprietor of 82 Beauty Atrium, rent the premises and make CPF contributions for workers. In other words, it was a legit business on paper. For this, he was paid S$1,000 a month. 

On Aug. 18, 2018, police raided the premises and found that the parlour was offering sexual services. On top of that, it was revealed that Hu and Zhang were not licensed to run the outlet as a massage parlour. 

Chia stepped up to say he was the sole operator of the outlet and was charged in court on Dec. 18 with operating a massage parlour without a license. 

Knot-thing will stop them

Despite the scare of the first raid and Chia’s charges in court, Hu and Zhang went on to open two other massage parlours in Jalan Besar – one also called 82 Beauty Atrium and another, Winter Leaf Beauty. 

A new fall guy, 63-year-old Ho Meng Seng was hired and also paid S$1,000 a month. He was registered as the sole proprietor of both outlets and his details were used for official documents and payment of utilities and foreign worker levies.

By this point, Hu had arranged for workers to come from China to work at these outlets and even collected a fee from them. They were told that Ho was the boss, although he was mostly not present. 

Again, a police raid happened on Mar. 27, 2019 at the 82 Beauty Atrium outlet after

WeChat messages offering sexual services were discovered. Another raid happened at the Winter Leaf Beauty outlet the following day. 

Under pressure points

When everyone at the massage parlours were arrested, Ho had to bail them out with the impression that he was the boss. Hu also asked the workers to sign documents confirming that Ho was their employer and warned them not to tell the truth. 

On her end, she also lied in her statement to the police in May 2019, saying that Ho was the boss of the 82 Beauty Atrium outlet.

In April 2019, Ho also lied in his statement to the police and claimed that had bought the Jalan Besar outlet from Chia in March 2019 for S$5,000. He added that he had personally interviewed and employed the workers and paid their salaries. He even claimed he did not know about Hu and ran the outlet with Zhang and went down to the parlour once or twice a week. 

Full charges menu

Hu pleaded guilty to four charges of operating an unlicensed massage business and giving false information to the authorities, with another eight charges taken into consideration. She received a 20-day jail sentence and a S$16,000 fine. 

Her co-conspirator Zhang was previously jailed for 10 days and fined S$8,000. 

The first “dua pek gong” Chia pleaded guilty to five charges including profiting on prostitution, allowing the outlets to be used as a brothel and giving false information to the police. Another six charges was taken into consideration. He was given a jail sentence of two months and five weeks and a fine of S$10,400. 

Ho, the other fall guy pleaded guilty to three charges including allowing the premises to be used by Hu and Zhang for an unlicensed massage business and also lying to the police. Another five charges were taken into consideration. For his part in the whole scheme, he was given two weeks of jail time and a fine of S$11,000. 

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