Police arrest 32 including Thai nationals after wrecking a prostitution ring, many Thai transvestites and men arrested in last one week

Many male bystanders tried to save the "woman" yesterday.

23rd September 2022 – (Hong Kong) At about 4 o’clock yesterday (22nd), a “woman” wearing a camisole with pink suspenders was found by passers-by sitting precariously on the canopy of the outer wall on the second floor of No. 33 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. ‘She’ appeared to be terrified and subsequently climbed down to the ground from the the position of an air-conditioner. According to sources, the police were conducting an anti-vice operation in the building on the site at the time. It is believed that the man, who is believed to be a prostitute, climbed out of the window to escape arrest.

After preliminary investigation by the police, the case involved a 30-year-old Thai man who entered the country with a passport. He was later transported by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital before being arrested for violating condition of stay.

The Organised Crime and Triad Bureau of the Police Department launched an anti-illegal prostitution operation, arresting 32 people and successfully dismantling a cross-border prostitution criminal syndicate that was operated through websites and social media. The police said that at the beginning of this year, a criminal syndicate was discovered that arranged for women to smuggle into Hong Kong from Southeast Asia for prostitution by sea to evade quarantine regulations.

Some of them even accompanied the women to enter Hong Kong, made arrangements for quarantine in Hong Kong before organising them to provide prostitution services.

The criminal syndicate would provide follow-up services, assist visa applicants to apply for visa extension procedures, arrange online advertisements and appointments, arrange photographers to take pictures, market via advertisements on local social media and prostitution websites, communicate with customers, solicit customers it also provided prostitution products such as condoms, mouthwash, lubricants and towels. These prostitutes not only had to pay for smuggling, air tickets and quarantine hotel fees, but also paid a considerable amount of commission for offering sex services. In order to evade law enforcement officers, criminal syndicate will restrict their activities and change their room locations for transactions from time to time.

The police arrested six men and one woman (aged 26 to 53) yesterday on charges of “conspiracy to control the prostitution of others”, “conspiracy to traffic others into Hong Kong for prostitution” and “conspiracy to rely on the income of others to make a living”, 6 of them are locals and 1 is a Thai national.

The police and the Immigration Department also searched several units and hotel rooms in Kowloon and arrested 8 men and 17 women (aged 21 to 41) on suspicion of “violation of conditions of stay” and “illegal entry”. Except for 1 who was a mainland woman, the other 24 were Thai nationals, and officers seized HK$100,000 in cash, a private car used to pick up and drop off prostitutes, a large number of other products used for sex services, computers and mobile phones used for advertising, communication, and reservations. Those arrested persons were detained overnight. The police believe that they have disintegrated a criminal syndicate which operated illegal prostitution activities through social media and prostitution websites for more than half a year, and the arrested prostitutes stayed in Hong Kong for about a month.

In the past one week, police have conducted several raids in Yau Ma Tei, TST and Wan Chai. One shocking discovery was that transvestites and men from Thailand were also arrested. Although they are quite common in Thailand but they are definitely not easily found in Hong Kong.

On 18th September,  police raided many prostitution establishments in the Yau Ma Tei and TST district at around 12am today. During the operation, police officers arrested 10 mainland women and 2 Thai men (aged 20 to 36) on suspicion of “violation of conditions of stay”, “illegal entry” and “illegal immigrants accepting employment and opening businesses” respectively. All arrested persons have been detained for investigation, and some of the arrested persons will be referred to the Immigration Department for follow-up later.

On 16th September, Police carried out another operation at Fuji Building, 381-383 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai to raid an illegal prostitution establishment. Officers arrested 8 male and 1 female Thai nationals (26 to 36 years old) who entered the country as tourists. During the operation, police seized a batch of condoms and mouthwash as evidence. 8 of them were transvestites who dressed up as women to solicit business. They charged HK$600 – HK$800 for each sexual transaction.