CRIME

Police arrest elderly pimps in Hong Kong hotel sex syndicate

Undercover agents detain nine people, including local tour guide and mainland prostitutes, involved in vice ring that targeted foreigners

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 December, 2013, 5:43am

Undercover police have arrested nine people including the elderly ringleaders of a trafficking syndicate that sent mainland prostitutes to service foreigners staying at hotels in Hong Kong.

The syndicate was said to be run by a local couple, aged 56 and 57, who enlisted a 55-year-old tour guide to help them find customers, many of them foreign tourists, police said.

The three were arrested along with two suspected pimps and four women, believed to be working as prostitutes, in a series of raids on Thursday.

A police spokesman said on Friday morning that the nine suspects were being held for questioning and no charges had yet been laid. Mong Kok special duty squad officers are investigating the case.

Police launched the undercover operation in September after receiving a tip.

The mainland prostitutes were housed in a flat in Mong Kok and guarded by two pimps, according to police. After receiving orders from the tour guide, the women were brought to hotels for sex and then escorted back to the apartment.

“Each client was charged HK$1,400 but the syndicate and the tour guide took more than HK$1,000 of this amount,” Senior Inspector Tam Man-kei of Mong Kok special duty squad said.

After a three-month investigation, two agents disguised as tourists were deployed to contact the tour guide, who arranged for two prostitutes, escorted by the elderly couple, to meet them at a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel on Thursday.

When they arrived, officers swooped in and arrested the couple and the sex workers. The tour guide was arrested in Wong Tai Sin.

In an ensuing raid on the Mong Kok flat, police found and arrested two other mainland women, and two Hong Kong men believed to be their pimps.

The women, aged between 20 and 23, were arrested for breaching their condition of stay, while the rest in the syndicate – all Hongkongers – were arrested for living on the earnings of prostitution.

Police believe that the arrests have effectively smashed the sex syndicate.

Last week, police broke up another vice syndicate and arrested 114 people. Police said the syndicate earned HK$60 million a year from controlling the city’s biggest website featuring advertisements for hundreds of prostitutes.