[Stop-traffic] News/US: Authorities break up prostitution ring

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Authorities break up prostitution ring
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Oct 10 2000 - 16:32:26 EDT


Authorities break up prostitution ring
The Associated Press, September 14, 2000

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A prostitution ring that forced women smuggled into
the United States from Asia to work in brothels across the country
was a well-organized conspiracy that included a Las Vegas travel
company, a federal prosecutor said.

Numerous brothels were set up in cities from Los Angeles to
Minneapolis to New York where five women would be rotated every 10 to
21 days, Assistant U.S. Attorney Blair Smith said during a detention
hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Five suspects, including two men accused of being leaders of the
group, were arrested Friday in Las Vegas by federal agents and local
police following a two-year nationwide investigation dubbed Operation
Jade Blade. As part of the operation, agents raided four buildings in
Eden Prairie, Minn., and another in Minneapolis last Friday night.

Tjui Ha, 45, was arrested in Rosemead, Calif., and is expected to be
brought to Las Vegas to face charges. A suspect in Denver remains at
large, FBI spokesman Joseph Dickey said. The FBI and the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service continue to investigate the
case in several other major cities, he said.

Smith said the ring appears to have set up brothels in Las Vegas, Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York City, Atlanta and
Minneapolis.

A Sept. 5 indictment charges all the suspects with conspiracy to
violate federal law, including the smuggling and movement of illegal
aliens, the interstate and foreign movement of women for illegal
prostitution, interstate and foreign travel in aid of prostitution
and money laundering.

Bank fraud and theft charges based on the alleged use of stolen
credit cards to pay transportation costs for the prostitutes as they
were moved from city to city are likely to be filed later, Smith said.

At the hearing Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leavitt
ordered Dat Ming Leung, 40, released on his own recognizance. Dan
Chao, 25, and Cindy Tan, 43, were ordered to remain in custody
pending trial.

The detention hearing for two other suspects -- Ru Xiang Zhao, whose
age is unknown, and Yuk Ching Liu, 51, was delayed until Monday at
the request of defense attorneys.

According to federal prosecutors, Leung and Lui were leaders of the
prostitution ring that used false documents to smuggle Asian women
into the United States. Once here the women were forced to repay the
smugglers by working in the brothels.

Ten women were arrested during the Friday night raid by the FBI, INS
and Las Vegas police. Two of the women have since been released, and
eight remain in INS custody facing deportation.

Smith said Wednesday Leung and Lui owned a travel business, Las Vegas
Global Travel Inc., and allegedly used stolen credit cards to
purchase tickets for the prostitutes as they were moved to different
cities. Leung also had a business interest in a bus company, Smith
said.

Kwok Chun, who is not named in the indictment, said he is the owner
of Global Travel and knows nothing about the government' s
allegations of illegal prostitution.

Tan is alleged to have run the daily operations of the Las Vegas
brothels set up in an apartment building. Zhao allegedly worked for
Leung and Lui, but later broke away and set up his own brothel in Las
Vegas.
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
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