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Members of gang which ran prostitution ring in UK hotels convicted

In total, the operation generated hundreds of thousands of pounds.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/August_0802

MEMBERS OF A gang which trafficked 19 women into prostitution at hotels across southern England and Wales have been convicted of their part in the operation.

The women, from southeast Asia, advertised their services on a range of adult websites. Phone numbers given in the adverts, if dialled, would go through to a member of the gang who would then make contact with the woman in question.

Almost 400 bookings were made at hotels between August 2013 and March 2015, mainly along the south coast of England and Wales, at locations as far afield as Gatwick, Exeter and Cardiff.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the room reservations were made using false details. Customers would pay for services in cash on arrival at the hotel. The money would then be paid into accounts controlled by members of the gang.

In total, the operation generated hundreds of thousands of pounds, with credits of more than £88,000 (about €98,000) paid into one bank account and more than £66,000 (about €74,000) into another.

Mobile phones seized from the defendants and sex workers showed hotel bookings, along with messages about the arrival of the women, their work, contact with clients and payment details.

Three defendants, all from southeast Asia, were convicted of multiple offences yesterday following a trial at the Old Bailey in London.

Vulnerable women 

Speaking about the case, CPS lawyer Kevin Thomson said: “This was an organised operation designed to traffic women into prostitution, as shown by the variety of bank accounts used to run it and the sheer amount of funds it generated. These elements helped to provide compelling evidence of what these defendants were doing.

The gang exploited vulnerable women, putting them to work in situations which exposed them to serious potential risks. Once the women were caught up in the prostitution ring, it was invariably almost impossible for them to escape the life they had been forced into.

“All the time, they were then earning what turned out to be huge sums of money for the defendants, who were responsible for running the operation without any regard for the women’s wellbeing.”

The hotels used were located in Brighton, Gatwick, Bournemouth, Exeter, Maidstone, Kingston upon Thames, Guildford, Cardiff, Windsor, Heathrow, Woking and Eastbourne.

The members of the gang convicted were:

  • Hong Chin, 45: conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, conspiracy to traffic for sexual exploitation, possessing criminal property, using criminal property
  • Li Wei Gao, 44: conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, conspiracy to traffic for sexual exploitation, possessing criminal property
  • Ting Li Lu, 47: conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, conspiracy to traffic for sexual exploitation, possessing criminal property

They will be sentenced on 26 October.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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Órla Ryan

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