Man jailed, fined for subletting rooms as brothels

Romesh Navaratnarajah11 Oct 2016

Man jailed-crop

The Chinese national earned around $15,000 in profit from renting apartments out as brothels, reports said.

A hotel chef was jailed for three months and fined $23,000 for subletting rooms in condominiums to prostitutes for use as brothels, reported The Straits Times.

Xue Donglai, 48, earned around $15,000 in profit from renting rooms out as brothels between end-2014 and early this year.

He had pleaded guilty to one charge of running a brothel and two counts of living on the earnings of prostitution.

A Singapore permanent resident from China, Xue has worked here for the past 16 years, first as a cook at Grand Shanghai Restaurant in 2000, and as a junior sous chef at Swisshotel Merchant Court in 2014.

Over the years, he rented at least five apartments which he sublet to prostitutes. Three of the units were situated at Urban Lofts in Rangoon Road, Primedge in Lorong 34 Geylang and Ness in Lorong 32 Geylang.

Xue charged prostitutes between $100 and $140 per month, depending on the size of the rooms.

For prostitutes introduced by an agent, Xue would pay the agent a daily commission of $20.

He got his tenants through advertisements that his friend posted on popular messaging app WeChat.

“Further investigations revealed that Xue refused to rent his rooms to social visit pass holders as he felt that if the police were to arrest them inside the unit, the chances of the police investigating the house owners and tenants were higher compared to special pass holders,” Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kavita Uthrapathy said.

“According to him, he has earned a profit of about $15,000 from renting rooms to prostitutes over the years, after deducting the monthly rental paid to the landlord and utility bills.”

On 25 February, four prostitutes from China were arrested during an undercover operation.

Xue, who was arrested at Swisshotel Merchant Court that same day, admitted to subletting the rooms as brothels.

In mitigation, his lawyer Simon Tan noted that first-time offender Xue was truly remorseful and had fully cooperated with the authorities.

As the family’s sole breadwinner, Xue found it hard to solely depend on his earnings as a chef to support the expenses of his family, considering that his daughter was studying in the UK, shared Tan.

He supplemented his income by subletting apartments to other Chinese nationals and was not involved directly in the prostitution of his tenants.

Xue was fired from his job after he told his employer of his charges.

The maximum punishment for being a person in charge of a brothel is three year’s jail and a fine of $3,000 for a first conviction, and five year’s jail and a $10,000 fine for subsequent convictions.

Meanwhile, the maximum penalty for living on the earnings of a prostitute is a $10,000 fine and five year’s jail.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email


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