Taipei (Taiwan News)—A Taiwanese man surnamed Chen was arrested for leading a 13-member snakehead ring that sexually exploited Chinese women, announced Taiwan's National Immigration Agency (NIA) Thursday.
The 48-year-old Chen forged documents and different identities to acquire independent tour visas for the Chinese women who were being prostituted in Taiwan.
The crime group would attract brothel clients by sending risqué photos of the 20 Chinese girls in their prostitution ring to people via mobile messaging Apps, such as Line or Weixin.
Forged documents and client lists of the snakehead ring led by Chen found by prosecutors. (Photo courtesy of National Immigration Agency)
Professional photographers were hired to take photos and make video clips of the prostituted women to give them the appearance of models.
Chen, who is nicknamed A-song (阿松), would then deceive brothel clients that he was operating a model agency, to steeply hike up the rates charged for the Chinese women's sexual services from NT$8,000-12,000 (US$258.11-387.17), and for prettier girls the premium price charged even reached NT$30,000.
His brothels were targeting richer clients, and he intentionally collaborated with hotel owners that suffered from the recent downturn in tourism in Taiwan.
Police estimate the group's daily income from prostitution was NT$500,000-600,000, and was making a monthly profit of NT$6 million after deducting the prostitutes’payments.
Condoms found by prosecutors that Chen's human trafficking ring were using. (Photo courtesy of National Immigration Agency)
Demand was so great for young women that Chen opened a new brothel, and was operating two brothels at the time of his arrest.
The women worked 15 hours per day and hardly earned anything from prostitution, most of their earnings were deducted for various costs or controlled by the crime group, and they were under constant surveillance in the hotels they stayed in.
Surveillance cameras were installed in the hotel hallways, and chaperones accompanied women everywhere they went.
After a seven-month investigation by a team of 72 prosecutors led by Taipei City prosecutor Lin Yi-hsuen(林易萱) the 13 suspects were finally arrested.
Prosecutors detained them on the charges of violating Article 31 of Human Trafficking Prevention Act, Article 15 and Article 17 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and China, and for prostituting women for profit under Article 231 and forging documents under Article 216 of the Criminal Code.
Investigations are still ongoing to find other accomplices of the snakehead ring.