Girls in online prostitution ring may be under 18

Two men who paid for sex with prostitutes through an online vice syndicate could find themselves in further trouble as some of the prostitutes may have been under the age of 18, according to a Straits Times report.

The two men had gone searching for prostitutes on a website that explicitly advertised the women's ages, which were above 20, a lawyer told the paper. The lawyer is currently advising the two men.

But both are now under investigation for possibly having sex with prostitutes under the age of 18. It is a crime to have paid sex with a girl under 18 under laws that were tightened in 2008.

It is also illegal to pimp sexual services. The report said those who hire prostitutes through vice syndicates can be called up for questioning as witnesses.

The pimp involved in the online vice syndicate is in his 30s, Chinese evening daily reported on Monday.

Criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan is representing six men involved in the investigations, the report added. All are working in the private sector and are in their 30s and 40s.

A former school principal and other public servants are believed to be among the 80 men hauled in for questioning, according to other media reports.

The 39-year-old former principal of a top school remained uncontactable, the report added. He suddenly left the education service in December.

Between 2010 and last year, the police have busted six online vice syndicates, a police spokesman told the paper.