8 women sentenced to 2 months jail for loitering, prostitution
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
EIGHT women were each sentenced yesterday to serve two months in jail after they pleaded guilty to the joint charges of loitering for the purpose of prostitution.
The defendants are Chinese national aged between 18 and 32 years old who were on a social visit pass in Brunei.
They were arrested during a raid on July 15 at a hotel room in Kiulap following a public tip-off to the police on an alleged prostitution ring at the hotel.
The court document submitted by prosecuting officer Mohammad Danial DSP Hj Kifrawi stated that during the raid, police found the women loitering at the hotel room for the purpose of prostitution and they also found and seized items used for the purpose of soliciting sex such as condoms and lubricants.
The police also found and arrested a man and a woman in the next adjoining room.
Upon investigation, it was found that the woman was loitering in the room for the purpose of prostitution.
Inspection into the room led the police to discover six packets of unused condoms in the defendant’s bag and her bra and underwear placed on top of a bed near the defendant’s handbag.
In delivering their mitigation yesterday, defence counsel Rozaiman Abdul Rahman told the court that the defendants were all victims of a vice syndicate and belonged to a group of Chinese triad from China known as “the Snakeheads”.
“The Snakeheads had given instructions to all the defendants to travel to Brunei to be as tourists. Simultaneously, they were given instructions to solicit activities for the purpose of prostitution,” said the counsel.
The defendants were also given instructions that they are to return to China after their stay in Brunei and the proceeds of their activities would be remitted earlier via banks/ money remittance companies back to their employers.
He went on to say that according to the defendants, the Snakeheads are ruthless gang members who preyed upon the poor in China.
“The defendants are helpless in their cause. They have to adhere to their instructions made by their employers, being the triad gangs.
“Any failure to adhere will result in unimaginable consequences to them and their family,” said Rozaiman.
The defendants, said Rozaiman, have expressed their remorse for their actions but they were all coerced into such immoral activities.
The defence counsel sought for the court for leniency in imposing the sentence, namely a fine as these women only wished to return to China and see their families or a month jail term as an alternative if the court were to impose a custodial sentence.
In delivering his verdict, Chief Magistrate Muhammed Faisal PDJLD DSP Hj Kefli ordered the defendants to serve two months in jail as this was a syndicated act and it was necessary to send a clear signal non-leniency on these types of offences.
The court said that if leniency were given, there is a danger that these types of activities may increase in the future and therefore a custodial sentence is appropriate and a fine to be insufficient in this case.
The court further ordered for the defendants to serve their respective jail term with effect from July 16 and all of their belongings returned except for the condoms and lubricants, which is to be forfeited to the state.
According to police records, three locals were also detained in suspicion of hiring the services of the women.
The Brunei Times