Sugarbook founder charged

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Sugarbook founder was charged at the Shah Alam Magistrate’s court today with making statements which amounted to public mischief.

Chan Eu Boon, 34, however, claimed trial to the offence when it was read to him before magistrate Sabreena Bakar@Bahari today.

According to the charge sheet, he had allegedly posted an article titled – ‘Top 10 sugar baby university in Malaysia’ with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public via at about 10am on Feb 10.

The offence falls under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code which carries a maximum two years’ imprisonment or fine or both upon conviction.

Deputy public prosecutor Aliff Asraf Anuar Sharuddin asked the court to impose RM100,000 bail with one surety as the case involved public interest.

However, counsel T Shashi Devan who represented the accused pleaded for minimum bail.

He said his client was an IT entrepreneur and a low flight risk.

Moreover, he said Chan was set to get married after the pandemic.

The court set RM10,000 bail with one surety and asked the accused to surrender his passport until the disposal of the case.

The court also fixed March 26 for mention.

The Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had recently blocked access to the Sugarbook website recently following a police report lodged against it.

The website had facilitated the search for “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies”.

It was 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.

According to Sugarbook, the top two categories of “sugar babies” are students and fresh graduates.

They are followed by entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, lawyers, waitresses, personal assistants, make-up artists, freelance models and pharmacists.

Eizairi Shamsudin/NST

The 34-year-old, also known as Darren Chan, was arrested last week and has been in remand since last Friday for investigations.

Sugarbook was founded in 2016 and is used in other countries such as Singapore, Thailand and the US. It claims to match willing women seeking romance and financial support with men who can provide it and rejects accusations of facilitating prostitution.

It has drawn controversy before, but the current episode marks the first time police have taken action, after numerous police reports were lodged.