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Malaysian cops arrest founder of 'sugar daddy' dating website

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police arrested the founder of a controversial "sugar daddy" dating website under anti-prostitution laws after it boasted thousands of students were using the service, officials said yesterday.

In a twist, when the court turned down a request to remand the man, police rearrested him over a 2019 rape and prostitution case in Subang Jaya.

Sugarbook bills itself as a site "where romance meets finance" and aims to link up older men with younger women, with the men expected to provide financial support to their companions.

It sparked an uproar last week after releasing statistics purportedly showing thousands of students were using it to make money, leading one university to condemn the claims.

Police arrested the 34-year-old founder at a Kuala Lumpur condominium and launched an investigation under laws aimed at combating prostitution, which is illegal in Malaysia, and misusing the Internet.

BLOCKED

Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief Fadzil Ahmat said after the first arrest: "We are investigating the case for publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public, sharing offensive or menacing content, and prostitution."

Regulators had warned against using Sugarbook with local media reporting it had been blocked, although the site can still be accessed on some Internet providers in Malaysia and downloaded as an Android app.

After his first arrest, the man released a statement saying he believed "our Malaysian government knows what's best for the people".

Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil said: "To date, we have received 74 police reports in connection with this case."

Founded in 2016, Sugarbook says it has expanded to countries including Singapore and the United States. - AFP, THE STAR

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