Prostitution ring ‘made millions’
A bank account linked to a Chinese prostitution ring in Northern Ireland had an annual turnover of millions of pounds, the High Court has heard.
Prosecutors also revealed up to 11 brothels were being advertised in Belfast, with others operating in Londonderry and Newry.
The scale of the alleged operation was revealed as a Chinese woman who is accused, along with a former police officer, of human trafficking and controlling prostitution was refused bail.
Chen Rong (33), of Crestwood Avenue, Kidderminster, Worcestershire was said to have used up to five aliases, and allegedly used job advertisements in the Chinese press to recruit women to work in the sex trade.
Details emerged yesterday after detectives involved in a UK-wide investigation stopped co-accused Simon Dempsey with two Chinese woman at the Stena seaport in Belfast on May 18.
Dempsey, of East Street, Newtownards, Co Down, is a former PSNI officer who worked in Iraq for a Dubai-based security firm after quitting the force in 2004.
Police believed the two women he was with were in great fear, the court heard. They had been escorted to Belfast by Rong, who they knew as Helen, after she met them on a train in Warrington.
Crown counsel Christine Smith claimed that after arriving in Northern Ireland the women got a bus to Newry and were taken to a house where one was told she would do massages and the other would be the madam, looking after customers and money.
“The prostituted victim was given provocative clothes to wear and condoms,” Ms Smith said.
It was claimed the women were made to work from 10am until midnight each day and instructed they were illegal in the country, had no status and not allowed to speak to police.
“They were also told by her (Rong) that her boyfriend was in the police, was a gangster and they would be arrested if they did not co-operate,” she said.
According to the prosecution one of the victims did not leave the house for a week. She was then allegedly told to travel to a house in south Belfast where she serviced up to seven clients a day.
Ms Smith said Rong would call once or twice a week to collect takings and pay the victim £20 if she was in a good mood.
It was also alleged that four cash lodgements were made at banks in Belfast on May 26, with two deposits of more than £3,000 made within an hour.