[Stop-traffic] News/US: Judge won't cut bail in hooker ring case

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Judge won't cut bail in hooker ring case
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Nov 14 2000 - 10:29:40 EST

Judge won't cut bail in hooker ring case
By Greg Tuttle
Las Vegas Sun, November 28, 2000

A woman from China accused of being at the center of an international
prostitution ring stretching from Hong Kong to Las Vegas and New York City
is a flight risk, a federal judge said in refusing to lower her bail Monday.

Tjui Ha, also known as Mary Ha, sat quietly through the hearing before U.S.
Magistrate Lawrence Leavitt, who denied a request by her attorney to
release her on $150,000 bail. Leavitt had earlier set Ha's bail at $250,000
following her arrest in September.

Ha, 45, was arrested in Rosemead, Calif., following an FBI investigation in
several U.S. cities. Five people were arrested in Las Vegas, where
authorities said several leaders of the prostitution ring operated
brothels. The arrests culminated a yearlong investigation known as
Operation Jade Blade.

Federal prosecutors allege Asian men and women were smuggled into the U.S.
from several countries, then made to work as prostitutes to pay off a fee.
The prostitutes were rotated among brothels in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San
Francisco, Boston, New York City, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

Yuk Ching Lui, 51, Dat Ming Leung, 40, Dan Chao, 25, Cindy Tan, 43, and Ru
Xiang Zhao, whose age is unknown, were arrested in Las Vegas Sept. 8 during
raids at several apartment buildings. Two men and eight women working as
prostitutes also were arrested during the raids.

The six defendants have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering.
A trial date has been set for Feb. 26.

The prostitutes arrested during the raids were 19 to 34 years old and came
from Malaysia, Thailand and China, according to records released by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. Several are being held as material
witnesses pending trial.

Ha allegedly coordinated the smuggling activity from her home in Los
Angeles, according to court records. She also allegedly arranged for the
prostitutes to move among brothels in various cities, prosecutors said.

When Ha was arrested, federal agents allegedly found passports for 12
Malaysian women between 17 and 29 years old, 21 airline ticket stubs for
travel between Malaysia and North America and lists with the names of 26
women with abbreviations for more than six cities in the U.S.

Ha's attorney, Adam London, said Monday four of the prostitutes have given
statements since their arrest and three indicate they were aware of the
arrangement before agreeing to work in the brothels. The fourth said she
found out later, but also agreed to work as a prostitute.

"All four girls said nobody had ever threatened or harmed them in any way,"
London said.

London asked Leavitt to release Ha on $150,000 bail secured by property
owned by her, her husband and a friend. The friend, Hein Hua, appeared in
court and told the judge he was willing to risk losing his condominium in
California if Ha fled before trial.

But prosecutors argued Ha is in the country on a temporary visa and has few
ties to the area. She faces a possible 10-year prison sentence if
convicted, prosecutors said, and might have the financial means to flee the
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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