Two Macau girls freed from prostitution in Japan

Friday, October 17, 2008
Issue 499, Page 1 & 3
Word count: 895
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Two 18-year-old girls from Macau who were allegedly deceived to work as prostitutes in Japan last month were freed and returned home on Wednesday.

A 52-year-old Macau man, surnamed Chan, was caught by the PJ yesterday who police believed was the “agent” that conned and arranged the victims to travel to Japan.

The Judiciary Police (PJ), with the assistance of the police force in Japan and by contacting INTERPOL, arrested two Taiwanese suspects at the scene who allegedly detained the two victims and forced them to give sex services to customers in karaoke lounges.

It was the first case of its kind ever reported in Macau, according to PJ spokesman Chau Wai Kuong yesterday.

Mr Chau said one of the 18-year-olds saw a job advertisement in some local newspapers in May that a karaoke lounge in Tokyo was recruiting singers.

The girl then contacted the number listed that led her to meet with the Macau suspect who told her she could earn 20,000 to 30,000 patacas a month by “accompanying customers to sing”, Mr Chau said.

After several meetings, the girl was arranged to fly to Tokyo on August 29 with a visa, jetfoil tickets to Hong Kong and some Japanese currency provided by the Macau suspect who at the same time brought another 18-year-old girl to go with her.

The two victims, who had already quit school in Macau, were not reported missing by their families after leaving for Japan, Mr Chau said.

One of the Taiwanese suspects, surnamed Wong, 56, picked up the two girls at Tokyo airport and took them to stay in a two-level house with the ground floor being a small snack bar in a rural area in Chiba Prefecture.

Mr Chau said Wong, together with another Taiwanese woman, 47, surnamed Chan, started taking the girls to karaoke lounges very soon afterwards and only at that time did the 18-year-olds find out that they had to provide sex services.

Each time the girls would get about 20,000 to 30,000 Japanese yen, but the PJ spokesman said the two Taiwanese suspects would keep all the money and never passed it to the girls.

The girls would be “threatened” if they complained about not getting any money, the spokesman added.

Until September 11, one of the girls accidentally obtained a mobile phone and sent a text to her mother in Macau that she was detained and forced to work in prostitution.

After the mother reported to the PJ on the same day, the PJ contacted INTERPOL in order to seek assistance from the Japanese police which then found out the SMS was sent from Chiba Prefecture where the Taiwanese people’s snack bar was located.

The Japanese police on September 12 raided the venue where the two suspects were arrested and the Macau girls were rescued.

Mr Chau said the two Taiwanese would receive trials in Japan.

According to statements from the two victims, who finished with investigations in Japan and came back to Macau on Wednesday, the PJ apprehended the Macau man yesterday who could face up to 20 years in jail if he was found guilty of “organised human trafficking”, Mr Chau said.

The man told police he could receive 3,000 patacas every month for each girl he arranged to Japan for prostitution.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Public Administration and Justice, Florinda Chan, during her visit with the Women’s Advisory Committee to Good Shepherd Sisters’ Women’s Mutual Help Centre yesterday, said combating human trafficking needed “not cooperation only from the government, but from the community,” as well.

“The government and social organisations have to be aware of this kind of problem and know how they can help,” the Secretary said, adding “we can’t only rely on the government but people in society have to work hand in hand”.

When asked whether the case reflected the ineffectiveness of the revised Human Trafficking Law which came into effect on June 24 this year, Secretary Chan said it would be a “utopia” if “everything in a society was prefect”.

“But a society must have both good and bad things. We can’t be too naive and think why there are still crimes when laws are in place,” she said.

“The laws are not aimed at punishing people, but helping people be aware that if they violated the laws, they would face punishment and so they would determine what they should or should not do,” she added.

In addition, Secretary Chan said she did not accept the claim that “Macau is the inter-change station of human trafficking”.

“I believe that every country in the world has the same problem and that’s why they also have set out related laws against the crime,” she said.

“Crimes happen everywhere but we hope that by executing the laws the problem could be minimised,” she added.

On the other hand, when criticised that the public criticising the arrest of the secondary school teacher who was accused of spreading the bank rumour on the Internet was an “interference of freedom of speech”, the Secretary said “we shouldn’t use just one case to comment on the entire condition of Macau”.

“Even freedom of speech has a bottom line and people still have to respect each other,” she said, adding “through cases and examples people can know more about their rights and obligations and the government also has the responsibility to educate the public.”


1 Comment »

  1. tony Said:

    very good

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