SINGAPORE - A joint operation against a transnational vice syndicate was conducted by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) between Oct 22 and Nov 23 this year, the police said in a statement on Monday (Dec 3).
During the operation, officers from the SPF and MPS coordinated simultaneous raids at 83 locations in Singapore and various parts of China.
A total of 173 women and 12 men aged between 19 and 53 were arrested in Singapore for offences under the Women's Charter, while five women and 11 men aged between 21 and 48 were arrested in China.
Almost $70,000 in cash, laptops and mobile phones were seized as case exhibits in Singapore, and about 420,000 yuan (S$83,300) in cash was seized in China.
The police said that preliminary investigations revealed that the vice syndicate in China was operating a website which advertised the sexual services of Chinese women in Singapore.
The syndicate was believed to have arranged for these Chinese women to travel to Singapore to carry out vice activities, and they operated mainly at private apartments and Housing Board flats in the heartland.
The police will continue to clamp down and take tough enforcement action against such illicit activities, the authorities said.
Under the Women's Charter, any person who knowingly solicits, receives or agrees to receive any gratification as an inducement or reward for providing any service, and who by providing that service does or will aid the prostitution of another person (being a woman or girl), shall be guilty of an offence and punished with a jail term not exceeding five years, and to a fine not exceeding $10,000 upon conviction.
In addition, any male person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence shall, in addition to any term of imprisonment imposed in respect of such offence, be liable to caning.
SPF will continue to work closely with foreign law enforcement partners to tackle transnational crimes and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice, the authorities added.
Home owners are reminded to conduct regular checks on their tenants to prevent vice activities from proliferating in residential estates, the police said. Landlords who knowingly rent their premises to any person for vice-related activities will be prosecuted and face a jail term not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding $3,000, or both.
Those who are facing a second or subsequent conviction will be subject to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or a jail term not exceeding five years, or both.
In the statement, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigation and Intelligence) Florence Chua, who is concurrent director of the Criminal Investigation Department, said the successful joint operation is a result of the close collaboration between the SPF and MPS.
"I would like to thank the MPS for their strong and unequivocal support, which was instrumental in crippling this syndicate," she said.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.