[Stop-traffic] News/US: Hearing delayed in alleged prostitute smuggling

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Hearing delayed in alleged prostitute smuggling
Date: Fri Sep 22 2000 - 09:31:39 EDT

        September 12, 2000

Hearing delayed in alleged prostitute smuggling

By Greg Tuttle

Five people accused of smuggling Asian women into the United States
to be used as prostitutes in Las Vegas and other cities made their
first appearance Monday in U.S. District Court, but the hearing was
delayed as federal prosecutors requested more time to prepare their

The four men and a woman were arrested in Las Vegas late Friday as
part of a nationwide crackdown by federal agents in California,
Nevada, New York and Minnesota dubbed Operation Jade Blade.

The operation by the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service and local police targeted illegal brothels that used as
prostitutes Asian women who were smuggled into the country for a fee.
The women were expected to pay back their debt by working as
prostitutes, according to a federal indictment issued last week.

The women would work for about three weeks in a brothel, then move to
another brothel usually in another state, according to federal
authorities. It is unknown how many women were forced into
prostitution by the ring.

Operation Jade Blade began in March 1998, and centered on the group's
activities in Las Vegas. A Southern California woman, Tjui Ha, is
accused of organizing the illegal smuggling activity. She was
arrested last week and is expected to be transported to Las Vegas to
face charges.

A Denver man also has been taken into custody, authorities said.

In Las Vegas, federal agents and Metro Police officers arrested Yuk
Ching Liu, 51, Dan Chau, 25, Dat Ming Leung, 40, Ru Xiang Zhao, age
unknown and Cindy Tan, 45, during raids in several locations late
Friday. Police also served 13 search warrants during the raid that
involved dozens of officers.

Lui and Leung allegedly operated brothels out of a Las Vegas
apartment complex in the 4000 block of West Twain Avenue since at
least December 1998, according to the indictment.

Zhao allegedly worked with Liu and Leung for some time, but then
started his own brothel in Las Vegas using Asian women provided
through arrangements with Ha. According to the indictment, Zhao paid
protection money to Leung and occasionally exchanged women with
brothels operated by Leung and Liu.

Cindy Tan allegedly ran the daily operations for the brothels run by
Leung and Liu, federal prosecutors said in court records. Tan did not
have an attorney during her first court appearance Monday, and U.S.
Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leavitt rescheduled her hearing for today.

The four other suspects are scheduled to return to court Wednesday.

All the suspects face charges of conspiracy to commit illegal
smuggling and movement of illegal aliens, interstate and foreign
movement of women for illegal prostitution, interstate and foreign
travel in aid of prostitution and money laundering.

Las Vegas SUN

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