Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Biker in sex traffic probe

By Ciaran McGuigan

This is the motorcycle fanatic accused of trafficking sex slaves into Ulster.



Mark Alexander Russell gave our snapper the 'bird' as he left Belfast Magistrates Court last Wednesday after pleading not guilty to a number of charges linked to the vice trade.

Earlier the Co Down tiler was fingered as being linked to a sex racket in which young Asian women were smuggled into Ulster to work as £100-a-trick prostitutes.

Russell (38), of Circular Road in Dromore, is accused of trafficking one woman into Northern Ireland to work in the sex industry.

He was arrested as part of a UK-wide police crackdown on the vice trade, codenamed Pentameter II.

Russell is also accused of controlling the same woman — and a second woman — in prostitution for his own financial gain.

The burly biker pleaded not guilty to both charges during a two-minute hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court last Wednesday.

Resident magistrate Fiona Bagnall freed Russell on his own continuing bail of £500.

He is due back before magistrates later this month.

Just 24 hours earlier, Malaysian madam Geok Eng Cheung (55) admitted controlling prostitution by running a brothel in south Belfast that was uncovered during the same UK-wide police probe into human trafficking.

She claimed she arranged clients for hookers working at the Ardmore Court apartment and then took half the money that the women earned.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard how she claimed that this money was then passed on to a "Mr Russell".

Cheung, of no fixed abode, was handed a five-month jail term, but walked free after spending time in custody on remand. She at first told cops she had been "framed" but later admitted running prostitutes.

When charged with human trafficking, she told cops: "The girls like to come over here to earn some money."

The trafficking charge against her was eventually dropped.

According to her solicitor, Cheung is now planning to claim asylum to remain on Northern Ireland.

She was arrested in January after cops raided her south Belfast brothel as part of Operation Pentameter II, an initiative involving 55 police forces and the dedicated UK Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield.

When officers swooped, two women leaving the premises and two more inside were detained.

The women told police that they gave half their money to Cheung and she arranged for men to come to the apartment for sex.

It's understood that three women were taken into care following the police raid.

Belfast Telegraph

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