Saturday, January 19, 2008

Woman Hotel Owner jailed, fined for allowing vice in hotel

A co-owner of a budget hotel was sentenced to a day's jail and fined RM20,000, in default six months' jail, by the Sessions Court yesterday after she was found guilty of permitting its use as a brothel.
Lai Phek Ping, 45, was charged with assisting in the management of the Khiaw Hin Hotel at 52, India Street here, which was allowed to be turned into a brothel, about 12.15pm on Feb 14, 2004.

The offence carries a maximum jail term of 15 years and a fine.

She was initially acquitted by the court at the end of the prosecution's case without her defence being called on Feb 26, last year.

However, on appeal by the prosecution, the High Court held it had proven a prima facie case against Lai and called on her to enter her defence in the Sessions Court.
According to the facts of the case, three sex workers and their clients were in their rooms while Lai was downstairs at the counter when the police raided the hotel.

During the trial, the three clients, who were prosecution witnesses, admitted that they knew the reputation of the hotel as one having prostitutes and had frequented the hotel to have sex.

Pleading for leniency yesterday, Lai's counsel, John Shek, said she was now a housewife with an 8-year-old son.

"After the death of her husband early last year, she has no other means of support.

"Her late husband was the owner of the 15-year-old hotel and she was his second wife. The hotel was closed down immediately after her husband died," Shek said.

DPP Fazillah Abdul Ghani Begum urged the court to consider the seriousness of the case as the offence was committed prior to the closure of the hotel.

After sentencing, Lai refused to go to jail, prompting Shek to raise the question of a stay of execution.

Sessions judge Rhodzariah Bujang denied the request, explaining that Lai only had to spend seven hours in the court lockup and by 5pm, she would be free, provided she paid the RM20,000 fine.

Lai paid the fine.

Source : NST
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