Most of the criminal charges against Sugarbook and its founder Chan Eu Boon have been dropped, according to a report published today.
Chan told VICE News that only one charge against him remained, which has to do with publishing a statement with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public.
“I will not fight the Malaysian government. Malaysia will always be my country and my home. But after this entire episode, I am definitely deliberating whether or not to exit the Malaysian market.”
He said he was considering leaving the country to focus on Sugarbook’s expansion to other markets in Asia, such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Chan also claimed that some of Sugarbook’s members included “extremely influential people in power” as well as local celebrities, although he dismissed calls for their identities to be revealed.
He maintained that he and the company took its members’ data and privacy very seriously and would not reveal their personal identity.
“The authorities have requested for the names and addresses of our premium members, but I repeatedly refused to disclose any information,” he said.
The 34-year-old was charged under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code in February this year after being arrested to assist with an investigation into rape and prostitution. He was also probed under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Sugarbook had previously revealed that it saw a 40% increase in students registering to be “sugar babies” since January, with 12,705 students from 10 institutions of higher learning in the Klang Valley using the platform.
The police were then prompted to launch investigations into the dating platform after more than 70 reports were lodged over the website.
Following the controversy that arose early this year, which he described as “blown out of proportion”, Chan said the website saw more people signing up as members, although there were some who quit the platform too.
“Banning Sugarbook has certainly affected a lot of Malaysians. It was the primary source of income for many young women, and I’ve spoken with a few when I got out of prison.
“None of the young women registered as sugar babies have ever been forced to sell their bodies. We empower them to have absolute control of who they want to meet and engage with,” he maintained. – FMT