After a year of on-off movement control orders (MCO), we’ve more or less adjusted to life during the pandemic. However, we aren’t the only ones who’ve adapted. Unsurprisingly, the prostitution business has also adapted to conducting services during the MCO.
On 7th June, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) conducted two separate raids and discovered a syndicate promoting prostitution activities online. The group apparently earns up to RM100,000 per month.
The Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Kuala Lumpur Senior Assistant Commissioner Saiful Annuar Yusoff said they conducted the raids at 10.40pm on 7th June. They raided a unit at an apartment in Jalan Gombak and a hotel room at Jalan Setapak respectively. “During the raid, we arrested four locals including a woman from China, two Vietnamese women and one woman from Thailand,” he reported. They are all aged between 20 to 46 years old.
“We also confiscated two laptops, four computers, 19 handphones of varying brands, a modem, a Gpon Terminal, a TNB electricity bill, an access card, keys and RM1,117 in cash,” Saiful Annuar said. He added that the total amount of goods seized was worth roughly RM50,000. Preliminary investigations revealed that the syndicate had been advertising online prostitution activities via WhatsApp, WeChat, and Telegram.
Additionally, authorities discovered that the syndicate would rent apartment units and hotel rooms and use them as call centres. They would pay a rent of RM1,500 a month for each unit. “Each employee is also believed to receive a wage of RM3,000 to RM3,500 a month,” Saiful Annuar stated. Police suspect the group earns up to RM100,000 per month from the online business.
The suspects have been remanded for further investigation under Section 372(1)(e), Section 372B and Section 373 of the Penal Code. The police have also cited Section 6(1)(2) of the Immigration Act 1959/63. According to Saiful Annuar, this is for “the offence of not having a valid pass or permit to stay in Malaysia“.
“We strongly warn the public against getting involved in prostitution activities as stern action will be taken against organisers, premise owners, employees or customers in an effort to fight prostitution in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.