Police fail to obtain remand order on ‘Sugarbook’ founder

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An application for remand against the founder of ‘Sugarbook’ was rejected by the Shah Alam High Court today.

Hasnoor Hussain/TMI

Lawyer Foong Cheng Leong, representing the 34-year-old suspect, said High Court deputy registrar Noorasyikin Sahat, dismissed the application after his client pledged to give his full cooperation to facilitate police investigation in the case.

Counsels T Shashi Devan and Low Li Qun also appeared for the suspect during the proceedings.

It was reported Selangor Criminal Investigations Department chief Datuk Fadzil Ahmat said the investigations were carried out under Section 373(1)(d) and Section 372B of the Penal Code.

“The case is also being investigated under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” he said.

Section 372B of the Penal Code is used to investigate the offence of committing prostitution, which carries a maximum one year’s jail, a fine or both.

Section 505(b) of the Penal Code is used to investigate offences of committing public treason with the intention of causing fear to the public. It carries a maximum jail term of two years, a fine or both.

Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 provides for the improper use of network facilities or services.

Sugarbook is a website and mobile app platform established on the concept of “sugar dating”.

The term is loosely used to describe relationships in which financial support is exchanged for romantic companionship, which may or may not involve sexual intercourse.

Sugarbook primarily facilitated the search for “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies”.

On Monday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked access to Sugarbook after issuing a statement warning users against the service and said action would be taken if authorities detected elements of prostitution.

The next day, however, Sugarbook launched an alternative website for its users and provided instructions on how to circumvent the MCMC ban.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

Sugarbook describes itself as a platform where “romance meets finance”, which has been interpreted as a euphemism for trading sex for payment and among reasons why authorities here have warned against it.

The company insists that it is not involved in any form of prostitution and that any transactions between its users are entirely voluntary.

The media had reported that the pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO) has caused more university students in Malaysia to turn to “sugar daddies” for easy money to cover their costs of living and tuition fees.

Sugarbook claimed to have recorded a 40 percent increase in students registering as “sugar babies” since January, saying it demonstrated the financial difficulties they are facing.

It also revealed that some 12,705 students from 10 institutions of higher learning in the Klang Valley, including two public universities, are currently registered with the platform.

Meanwhile, Selangor Criminal Investigation Department head Datuk Fadzil Ahmat said the suspect, from Minden, Gelugor, in Penang, was arrested at 4.30pm yesterday at a condominium in the federal capital.

To date, 74 police reports have been lodged about this case.