A man who killed three prostitutes in their one-woman brothels was jailed for life yesterday for his 'wicked crime', as sex workers called for changes to a law they said left such women isolated and vulnerable. Nadeem Razaq, 24, a Hong Kong resident of Pakistani origin, was found guilty by a Court of First Instance jury of three counts of murder, committed during a spree that spread terror through the sex trade for three days last year. Jailing Razaq, who had pleaded not guilty, Madam Justice Clare- Marie Beeson told him: 'By your wicked crime, you've deprived [the victims] of their lives and destroyed their families.' Sex workers collective Zi Teng said afterwards that police had become more sympathetic towards prostitutes since the killings but they still needed more protection. Its project co-ordinator, Elaine Lam Yee-ling, said it was time to overhaul the law that in effect made one-woman brothels - colloquially known as 'one flat one phoenix' - the only legal form of prostitution. The sentence came a day after another man had been jailed for life for murdering a 16-year-old 'compensated dating' girl he had hired for sex, cutting up her body and flushing the pieces down a toilet. Razaq had pleaded not guilty to murdering Sze Ming-lan, 35, Sun Xiumin, 30, and Tse Hau-yuen, 35, in Yuen Long and Tai Po, saying he had been coerced by armed debt collectors who had ordered him to kill eight women. He said they had ordered him to kill three women in Sheng Shui immediately after the initial three but he had escaped. The three victims were found dead in their flats between March 14 and 16 last year. Razaq was identified by forensic evidence he left at the death scenes, including a palm print, bloodstains, a used condom and a used straw. He was arrested in Macau on March 17 last year in a police trap mounted with the help of his elder brother and was handed to Hong Kong investigators the next day. Outside court yesterday, one of the investigators, Detective Senior Inspector Lui Tak-keung, said there was no evidence to support Razaq's claim. He thanked Macau's police and Zi Teng for their help in the case. Ms Lam said Hong Kong had about 2,000 one-woman brothels, the only legally sanctioned form of prostitution under a law that did not specifically outlaw sex for sale but prohibited soliciting or living off the earnings of a prostitute. It was legal for one woman to work out of one room, but it was illegal if the landlord knew what a sex worker did and allowed the premises to be used as a vice establishment, she said. 'It is not legal to solicit on the street, nor is it legal to advertise directly. But if a prostitute gets a security guard for her one-room unit, that's illegal, as he would be making gains from prostitution.' She said a complete overhaul of laws relating to the sex industry was needed. 'Decriminalisation of the sex trade is the way to go, not simply changing one or two provisions against its operation.' Ms Lam praised the police for changes they had made in the way they dealt with sex workers since the murders of the three prostitutes. 'In the past, when sex workers reported a crime, police officers would ignore them, but now their attitude has improved,' she said. 'During a robbery case involving a sex worker in Yuen Long recently, we could see officers treated her like an ordinary person. It is good.' After the murders, police had started reaching out to prostitutes, which opened up lines of communication in an effort to cut the risks of working in one-woman brothels. 'Sex workers should be treated like ordinary people and people should know that it is a crime to harm them, like others,' Ms Lam said. The three prostitutes were not the only murder victims in the sex trade last year. According to police, in the whole of 2008 there were 36 murders, with five of the victims being prostitutes. Four of the cases involving prostitutes have been solved. There were 10 murders in the first quarter of this year, three involving sex workers.