She was in Singapore on a long-term visit pass to accompany her daughter who was a student here.
But while here, Vietnamese national Nguyen Thi Pho Chau, 37, ran a vice operation in the Joo Chiat area along with her sister, brother-in-law and mother.
Nguyen yesterday pleaded guilty to nine charges; three each of living in part on prostitution earnings, receiving women for the purpose of prostitution and harbouring women for the purpose of prostitution.
Another 29 similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing. She was yesterday sentenced to 12 months’ jail for her role in the operations.
According to court documents, Nguyen started running the prostitution ring some time in September 2013.
She would meet compatriots who were coming to prostitute themselves in Singapore at the airport.
Nguyen took these women to lodging houses in Tembeling Road and Joo Chiat Lane.These women would pay Nguyen $1,000 in agent’s fees, and daily rent of $18. This was inclusive of meals, which were cooked by Nguyen’s mother, Chau Thi My Linh.
The women worked as bar hostesses around Joo Chiat but also performed sexual services for additional money. The operation was brought to a halt when police raided the Joo Chiat Lane house last year on Sept 22. There, they found six Vietnamese women working as prostitutes.
Police also arrested Nguyen’s sister and brother-in-law, Nguyen Thi Phuong Chau, 42, and Nguyen Duy Binh, 27. Both have been dealt with and were each sentenced to two months’ jail.
Nguyen surrendered herself to Cantonment Police Complex four days later but her mother is still at large.
In mitigation, Nguyen’s lawyer said she had been looking after her daughter, now a Secondary 1 student at a school in the northern part of Singapore.
He asked that she not be jailed because it would affect her daughter’s upbringing.
He added that all the women involved in the flesh trade were above 18.
During sentencing, Community Court Judge Matthew Joseph noted that a strong deterrent was needed so others in Singapore on long-term visit passes would not be incentivised to commit unlawful offences for profit.