[Stop-traffic] News/Canada: More brothels in Richmond, police suspect

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Canada: More brothels in Richmond, police suspect
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Oct 24 2000 - 14:20:28 EDT

More brothels in Richmond, police suspect
By Mike Howell
The Vancouver Sun, August 8, 2000

The recent raid on a Richmond brothel of Malaysian prostitutes has led
police to believe the suburban city's downtown is infested with such

In approximately the last two years, Richmond RCMP have busted four
downtown brothels -- all with Malaysian prostitutes in Canada on visitors'
visas -- and say there are as many as six more in the same area.

Police will not reveal the location of the other brothels, or comment on
whether they are home to Malaysians.

Richmond RCMP Constable Paul Johnston would only say that information
gathered in the most recent raid on an apartment suite July 28 has
investigators pursuing new leads.

"We're well aware that there are other houses operating in Richmond, but we
just don't have the resources or the luck to get into them," explained
Johnston, a member of the detachment's gang squad.

Of the four brothels shut down by police, three were in apartments on
Buswell Street and the fourth was located in an apartment a few blocks away
on Cooney Road.

Police speculate Richmond is an attractive location for brothels of foreign
prostitutes because of its proximity to Vancouver International Airport.
The cultural barriers that police face when dealing with the city's large
Asian community also makes it difficult to uncover such operations.

In the recent raid, police discovered five Malaysian prostitutes, aged 17
to 19, working out of an apartment in the 6100-block Buswell Street near
Westminster Highway. They had arrived in Canada earlier this year.

The suspected operator, a 35-year-old landed immigrant, was not in the
apartment but police have linked him to two other brothels -- one in the
same building in June, the other in another apartment on the same street
last year.

Located between busy Westminster Highway and Granville Avenue, Buswell
Street is anchored at the north end by the Richmond Public Market, which
attracts residents from the apartment blocks and strip malls lining the
quiet street.

Area residents interviewed by The Sun said they are not aware of brothels
operating in the neighbourhood.

Police say prostitutes discovered in the recent raid were charging each
client $160. The money was being controlled by the brothel's madame, who
appeared to provide the prostitutes with allowances, said Johnston. There
were no clients inside the apartment at the time of the raid.

"If they wanted to go to the movie, [the madame] gave them money to go to
the movie. If they wanted to eat, she'd give them money to eat. But she
keeps all the money," said Johnston, adding that records seized by police
indicate some girls were seeing 15 clients a day.

No one has yet been charged in the latest raid. Police are not expected to
recommend charges against the prostitutes, describing them as victims of
the operator.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is questioning the women, but would not
comment on their status.

The first case of Malaysian prostitutes working in a Richmond brothel dates
back to February 1998 when Vancouver police and immigration officials
raided a suspected bawdy house in an apartment at 6611 Cooney Road, a few
blocks from the three others on Buswell.

Inside, investigators found two clients and five Malaysian prostitutes,
aged 20 to 32. Police also arrested a Vancouver man and a woman who were
suspected of running the brothel.

Hong (Connie) Deng, 37, and Cheng Zhi (Alex) Zhao, 29, were charged with
keeping a common bawdy house. The charges were later stayed as a result of
conflicting statements from the two clients and failure to find four of the
five prostitutes to testify after they had returned to Malaysia.

Johnston admitted prosecuting brothel operators can be difficult when the
prostitutes are unavailable as witnesses.
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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