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April 12, 2001 04:45am
Jail Looms for All-Woman Porn Syndicate
Source: Reuters

(SINGAPORE) -- A Singaporean accused of running an all-woman pornographic movie rental operation just steps from the Supreme Court faces two years in jail for flouting the city state's strict obscenity laws.

Entry to the members-only video library was monitored by surveillance cameras and clients had to give their numbers over an intercom before they were admitted.

Lim Kwee Kee, 41, and six Indonesian accomplices aged 19 to 27 pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing banned films, a court spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.

The Indonesian women were sentenced to four months' jail on Wednesday.

A district judge will hear Lim's mitigation plea and pass sentence on May 2. She faces six charges, one of which carries a maximum fine of S$80,000 ($44,200) and two years' jail.

Police stormed the operation in a shopping center office unit near the Supreme Court and Parliament House in January after a tip-off.

The library had 1,800 members whose names were recorded in a log book. Clients were recruited by word of mouth and told of new movie arrivals with a friendly phone call.

A total of 31,599 uncensored VCDs, DVDs and video tapes were seized from the shop, which was operating for about six months.

``This is the first time that the central police division has come across an all women's group,'' a police spokesman told Reuters at the time of the arrests.

But authorities are unsure whether the women were runners for a larger syndicate or ``queenpins'' themselves.

Lawyers for the Indonesian women argued they merely served customers and left all the cash transactions to Lim, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

Singapore typically censors and bans publications and films deemed to have excessive amounts of sex and violence, references to drug use and material which could foment religious or racial intolerance.

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