Singapore—On July 26, Friday, a HIV-positive man was fined S$2,500 and jailed for 19 months for not revealing his condition to two prostitutes he had engaged in sexual intercourse with.
Earlier, the unnamed man pleaded guilty to two charges under the Infectious Diseases Act for failing to disclose that he was HIV-positive to the two sex workers.
The women testified in court that if they had been aware that the man was HIV-positive, they would not have had sexual relations with him. Fortunately, neither woman contracted HIV from contact with the man.
The two women, who are Chinese nationals, met the 53-year-old man when they rented an apartment from him. There was another woman living in the apartment, but she had no sexual contact with the man.
Due to a gag order, the man has remained unnamed. He was reported by TISG in February to be a policeman, but at the time of the offense had been working as a security officer. Why he left the Police Force is not indicated in court documents, the Straits Times (ST) reports.
In court, he admitted to having allowed his rented apartment to be used as a brothel, and also to knowingly living off the earnings of prostitution.
The man’s story began in early 2017 when he advertised the availability of his Geylang apartment to some prostitutes.
In June of that year, one Chinese woman informed him that she wanted to use the flat for conducting her business as a sex worker.
When they met shortly afterward, the man told her he wanted to have sexual relations with her, telling her that he used to be a policeman. He used this to pressure the woman, who was afraid that she would get caught by the authorities.
She agreed to have sex with him, wherein the man used a condom but did not pay the woman. Afterward, the woman began to use the flat to offer her services.
Later on, the former policeman tried to coerce her into having sexual relations again, but she did not agree. He then tried to increase his rental charges, accusing the woman of using the flat as a place for her partner to stay.
The woman ended up terminating her agreement with him, and he refunded S$600 from her rental fee.
A few weeks later the former policeman rented out the flat to another sex worker from China, and then a third Chinese national afterward, with whom he again had sexual intercourse. He did not disclose to the women his HIV-positive status.
All in all, the man charged the three women S$2,500 to rent his Geylang flat. The matter came to light on July 4, 2017 when a police raid was conducted and one of the prostitutes was caught, which led to the capture of the former policeman a week later.
The former policeman believes he could have been infected with HIV in Thailand as far back as 2003, but he was not diagnosed until five years later.
In 2017, however, he contacted the Ministry of Health (MOH) via email, telling them of his sexual relations with a prostitute whom he believed was infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
He requested the Ministry to look into the matter and deport the woman.
A few days after his initial email, he wrote the MOH again, saying he was HIV positive, and telling them that when he had had sex with the woman, the condom he used had broken. MOH’s Surveillance and Enforcement Branch investigated the matter.
The former policeman’s medical tests from December 2016 and July 2017 revealed that his viral load was undetectable, which greatly lessens the chance of transmitting HIV to others. He had also been under medical treatment during this time.
Chu Hua Yi, the man’s lawyer, asked for consideration regarding his circumstances, citing that his client’s father was suffering from stage four prostate cancer and stage two stomach cancer, that he was sole caregiver and breadwinner for his son, who is also ill.
However, Andre Ong, the Deputy Public Prosecutor on the case, pointed out that the man had misrepresented himself as a police officer to obtain sexual advantage over the women and had also been aware that the women were using his flat as a brothel.
The man could have received a 10-year jail term and been fined S$50,000 since he had not told the women that he was HIV positive before he slept with them. -/TISG
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