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 for their companions.
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia: The head of a controversial Malaysian “sugar daddy” dating website was charged on Wednesday (Feb 24) with causing public alarm after his claims that university students were using the service sparked an outcry.
But it sparked an uproar after releasing statistics purportedly showing thousands of students were using it to make money in the socially conservative, Muslim-majority country.
The site’s founder Chan Eu Boon was charged in court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, with one count of making statements that could cause public fear or alarm through a post related to students, so-called “sugar babies”.
The 34-year-old pleaded not guilty, with his lawyer saying the site had been blocked by Malaysian regulators, meaning the negative effects of his claims about students had been “minimised already”.
Efforts to block the platform appear to have had only partial success and it is still available via some Internet providers.
Also known by his English name Darren Chan, he faces up to two years in jail if convicted, and was set to be released on bail.
Founded in 2016, Sugarbook has expanded to countries including Singapore, Thailand and the United States.
The multi-ethnic country has a dual-track legal system with Muslims subject to Syariah laws in certain areas.
Malaysia’s Muslim citizens, who make up more than half of the 32 million population, are banned under Islamic law from having sex outside marriage.
Malaysia police question ‘luxury dating’ app founder in prostitution probe
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police said on Thursday (Feb 18) they had questioned the founder of a dating application being probed for suspected exploitation for prostitution, after complaints over its claim that thousands of university students had signed up as “sugarbabies”.
Police said the unidentified 34-year-old man was detained for questioning in the capital Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, after they had received at least 74 complaints against online dating service Sugarbook.
On its website, Sugarbook describes itself as an “industry leader in luxury dating”, providing a platform “for modern relationships to form and grow”.
“In our preliminary investigations, the suspect admitted to being the founder of the application Sugarbook,” Selangor state criminal investigations chief Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters.
In a post that went viral last week, Sugarbook claimed that thousands of students from top private and public universities had joined the app as “sugarbabies”.
Sugarbook did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.Advertisement
Malaysia’s internet regulator earlier this week barred Sugarbook’s website on local networks, according to news reports, after it advised users to be vigilant about potential scams and data breaches on Sugarbook and any other dating apps.
Sugarbook’s slogan is “where romance meets finance” and it defines a “sugar relationship” as one “where both parties define what they want in a relationship in exchange for financial support.”
In a post on its website, Sugarbook founder and chief executive, identified only as Darren C, said the service was a social netwroking platform that “builds beneficial relationships with our society’s elite”.
National news agency Bernama on Thursday reported the high court had denied a police request to further detain the suspect, saying it was satisfied he would cooperate fully.
Police did not say if the person detained was the same Darren C. Sugarbook is also being investigated for statements that could cause “public mischief”, and misuse of network facilities or services.