Brothel madam is told to pay £125k or face more jail
A Chinese brothel madam and her husband have been ordered to pay back £125,000 within six months or she will face another jail sentence and he will join her.
Despite Rong Chen (35) making almost a quarter of a million pounds from brothel keeping, prosecuting lawyer Philip Henry told Belfast Crown Court that she and her husband Jason Hinton (44) collectively only had £125,000 of realisable assets.
That asset is their marital home in Crestwood Avenue, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, which, as their lawyers told the court, will have to be sold or remortgaged to pay the money back.
Judge Mr Justice Stephens ordered that the money will have to be paid within six months, or they will each face jail sentences of up to two years.
Last July, he jailed Chen for seven years after she pleaded guilty to offences of controlling prostitution and human trafficking, while her accountant husband Hinton, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the control of prostitutes, walked free from court after agreeing to complete 220 hours of community service.
The judge previously heard how, while Chen jetted back and forth to Northern Ireland from her home in Kidderminster, women were forced to sleep with strangers at her behest and lived in squalid conditions, with little or no money.
In the 15 months which covered the charges, Chen raked in £282,107.
Ordering Chen, a former prostitute, to spend half her sentence behind bars and half on licence, Mr Justice Stephens told her: "You... regarded as inconsequential the emotional and physical abuse of vulnerable individuals.
"In short you sexually exploited and degraded women as a commodity for financial gain irrespective of the impact on them, their lives, their personalities, and their hopes and aspirations.
"Their daily and only function was to be used so that you could gain financially."
The "large-scale commercial enterprise" was uncovered in May 2009 when former police officer, and Chen's one-time lover, 42-year-old Simon Dempsey, tried to bring two women on to the Stranraer ferry.
He was jailed for nine months after he also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the control of prostitutes.