Belfast Telegraph

Crime gang made women work in brothel, court told

Up to 70 Hungarian women may have been brought into the UK and Ireland by a crime gang to work as prostitutes, a court in Belfast heard yesterday.

Police disclosed the suspected scale of the alleged vice-ring and also confirmed further searches and arrests are planned in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

Details emerged as a restaurant owner was remanded in custody charged with two counts of controlling prostitution for gain.

Matyas Pis (37), a Hungarian national with an address at Gaybrook Lawns in Dublin, booked flights into Dublin for two women and then drove them to Belfast to work as escorts, it was alleged.

He was arrested and charged after handing himself in at a police station in the city on Monday.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard the Hungarian Embassy had contacted the Metropolitan Police about a woman who had gone to work in a restaurant but allegedly been forced into a brothel to work as a prostitute.

Officers were asked to intervene amid fears that she may have been the victim of human trafficking, a detective said.

It was established that she had arrived in Dublin from Bratislava with another woman before they were allegedly taken into Northern Ireland by Pis on March 14.

The court was told the accused was contacted by gardai and instructed to go to the PSNI.

Both women claim to have been working as prostitutes, according to the investigating officer.

He said Pis admitted having known one of them for four years, rented the apartment on her behalf, and having booked the flights.

The detective claimed the women were victims in fear of a suspected organised crime gang.

He told the court: “A co-accused in Dublin has stated as many as 70 Hungarian females may have been facilitated entry to the UK and Dublin.”

Defence lawyer Eamonn O'Connor said Pis denies the charges and rejected any links to organised crime.

“This is a man who took it upon himself to come to police,” Mr O'Connor stressed.

Pis was refused bail and remanded in custody to appear again via video-link next month.

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