Jail and fine for man who posed as spiritual medium to trick teen ex-girlfriend into prostitution
SINGAPORE — When Kenneth Lim Zhi Zhan’s ex-girlfriend asked him to connect her with her dead crush in the “nether world”, he took the opportunity to exploit the 19-year-old for sex.
- Kenneth Lim Zhi Zhan was jailed for a year and fined S$5,000
- His ex-girlfriend, then aged 19, had asked him to connect her spiritually with a dead man she liked
- Later, it turned out that the man was imaginary
- Lim pretended to be a Chinese medium and convinced her to have sex with him and others for the favour
- Lim pocketed at least S$5,000 of her prostitution earnings
SINGAPORE — When Kenneth Lim Zhi Zhan’s ex-girlfriend asked him to connect her with a man she liked who was in the “nether world”, he took the opportunity to exploit the 19-year-old for sex.
Pretending to be a Chinese medium, Lim lied that the object of her infatuation wanted to “make love” to her and that in order to do so, she needed to sleep with Lim so that their spirits could be reunited.
He also sold her sexual services to others, telling her she needed to have sex with more people so he could buy prayer items.
This “crush” she had, or the man she liked, turned out to be a figment of her imagination. She was later diagnosed in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) as having a history of depression with psychotic features.
On Thursday (May 20), Lim, a former Certis Cisco security guard, was jailed for a year and fined S$5,000.
The 30-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty in March to knowingly living on the victim’s prostitution earnings, with another charge of procuring her for prostitution taken into consideration for sentencing.
His victim, now aged 24, cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity.
She was 19 and working as a retail assistant at various shops when Lim committed the offences against her in 2015.
The court heard that a mutual friend introduced them to each other in 2013. They became close friends before getting into a short-lived relationship about a year later.
Around then, the victim became infatuated with the imaginary man, after purportedly seeing his photograph on a friend’s mobile phone.
She confided in Lim that she dreamt about the man often and was in love with him, before asking Lim to help locate him.
The couple broke up shortly afterwards.
SERVICED SIX CLIENTS AND GAVE LIM S$5,000
In late 2014, she told Lim that her crush had died. She also asked Lim if he could connect her with the man in the nether world because she wanted to be with him in her next life.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Asoka Markandu told the court: “She told the accused that she missed (the man) very much and that he kept appearing in her dreams.
“The accused decided to play along and told the victim that he was a Chinese ‘medium’ and that he could help her to connect with (the man) on the condition that she kept it a secret. Otherwise, the spirit would be chased away.”
He later told her that she needed to have sex with him in order to reunite her spirit with the man’s.
She agreed and they proceeded to have sex on several occasions over the next few months.
In July 2015, Lim told her that she needed to sleep with more people to earn money for prayer items. He added that her crush wanted her to do this by prostituting herself, and that the man wanted her to burn “hell money” for him to use in the nether world.
She agreed with Lim’s suggestion that she advertise her sexual services on classified ads site Locanto, believing that the man was directing Lim from the afterlife.
Lim helped her to set up a Locanto account, then put up a notice on his own account that he had a friend in need of money and that she was willing to try anything to earn it.
Between August and September 2015, she had sex with six clients and handed over at least S$5,000 in cash to Lim. He used this to pay off his personal debts from online gambling.
DPP Asoka told the court that the victim has been a patient with IMH since September 2015, and that police investigations later revealed the crush to be her “imaginary friend”.
A family member filed a police report against Lim on Oct 28, 2015.
‘PREYED UPON VICTIM’S NAIVETE’
In sentencing Lim, District Judge May Mesenas disagreed with his lawyer’s argument that he had borderline intellectual functioning.
The case had gone into a Newton hearing over this issue, which is held during the sentencing process when facts that may materially affect the sentence are disputed, including conflicting medical reports.
She instead agreed with an IMH psychiatrist that he had average intellectual functioning and the “ability for consequential thinking”.
Lim claimed he did not know that he had broken the law as he had seen similar advertisements on Locanto, and further alleged he only learnt it was a crime after watching an episode of Crimewatch, a docudrama series that is part of the police's community outreach programme.
However, District Judge Mesenas said that Lim did not have any mental disorder that affected his ability to learn more about criminal acts.
She told the court that he had abused the victim’s trust and “preyed upon her naivete”, spinning a “web of lies” over five to six weeks.
She also disagreed with Lim’s lawyer that there was an inordinate delay on the prosecution’s part in charging him, noting that it took time for investigations to wrap up given the victim’s state.
For living on a prostitute’s earnings, he could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to S$10,000.