Four sex workers from Russia and Japan were among 17 women arrested in a police operation against a triad-controlled prostitution ring in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui entertainment district. One of the suspects from mainland China detained in the raid on Monday night tested positive for Covid-19 and was sent to hospital for treatment. A source familiar with the case on Tuesday said the woman came to the city over the weekend and police would try to track down her clients. The ring is believed to have operated across five hotels, some of which are five-star establishments, in the district. Hong Kong police arrest Japanese actress providing sex services, track syndicate Police began investigating the syndicate, suspected to be run by the Wo Shing Wo triad, last month, following the arrest of a Japanese AV (adult video) actress in another operation. The 27-year-old was intercepted in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel on October 17. Superintendent Alan Chung of the Kowloon West regional crime unit said the vice racket had connections to bring women in from Europe, Japan and the mainland and arrange for them to stay and work in the hotels in question. “The syndicate also used one of the hotel rooms as their operations centre where its core members contacted clients,” he said. Chung said women whom the gang recruited from Europe and Japan entered the city with travel visas and were usually allowed to stay for one to two weeks. The racket then posted advertisements with the pictures of the women on Telegram, along with contact details highlighting their place of origin and their brief stay in the city. Those from Japan and Russia charged each customer between HK$5,000 and HK$6,000 (US$768) for sex services, while women from the mainland set prices from HK$1,000 to HK$2,000. The syndicate took as much as 40 per cent of the proceeds. Most men in Hong Kong who pay for sex still do so during Covid-19: survey The force deployed several undercover officers to gather evidence before arresting 17 women across five hotels in Tsim Sha Tsui at about 8pm on Monday. Two of the suspects were Russian women, aged 27 and 30, who were arrested in Kimberley Hotel. Two Japanese women aged 20 and 28, and 11 mainland women were also detained in the operation. Police arrested the 15 women on suspicion of breaching their condition of stay. Officers also discovered the syndicate’s operational centre in one of the rooms at the Kimberley Hotel, where a Hong Kong woman and another from the mainland were arrested. Superintendent Chung said the two women, aged 27 and 40, were suspected to be core members of the prostitution ring. They were arrested on suspicion of controlling women for the purpose of prostitution – an offence punishable by up to 14 years behind bars under the Crimes Ordinance. Hong Kong district official among 5 suspects detained in anti-vice operation Chung said officers also seized HK$220,000 and mobile phones in the operation. “We believe the money is from crime proceeds and the mobile phones were used by the syndicate to contact clients,” he said. Officers are also trying to track down two other core members who left the operational centre before the raid. As of Tuesday morning, all the suspects were being held for questioning, with further arrests possible.