A trial relating to an alleged prostitution ring at Hotel Lisboa (pictured) in Macau and said to involve Alan Ho Yau Lun, a nephew of SJM Holdings Ltd founder Stanley Ho Hung Sun, is scheduled to start this morning (January 8), reported Portuguese news agency Lusa.
Mr Ho and other senior executives of Hotel Lisboa were arrested in January 2015 for allegedly running a prostitution ring at the property. The police estimated at the time that those suspected of involvement in it made more than MOP400 million (US$50 million) over a period of two years, collected from around 2,400 women.
During last year’s raid, the police held 96 suspected prostitutes, aged between 20 and 27, for investigation. One was from Vietnam, while all the others were from mainland China. The prostitutes allegedly were each forced to pay the ring an annual “entrance fee” of CNY150,000 (US$22,727) to solicit clients in public areas of the hotel complex, plus a monthly “protection fee” of CNY10,000, according to the police.
The case has been dubbed by local authorities as the largest sex ring to be broken up in Macau since the city passed from Portuguese administration to that of China in 1999.
Hotel Lisboa is owned by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau SA (STDM), which controls around 54 percent of Macau-based gaming operator SJM Holdings, according to the latter’s 2014 annual report. SJM Holdings manages the casino in the Lisboa complex.
Lusa reported that Mr Ho is one of six defendants involved in the case. All were in prison while awaiting trial. The case is being tried at Macau’s Court of First Instance.
Court hearings are scheduled to run at least until March. Lusa’s report added that the defence has called more than 100 witnesses to testify in court.
Prostitution is not illegal in Macau as long as an individual selling sexual services does so in a private place. But several activities related to the selling of sexual services are illegal. Soliciting for customers is a crime and organised prostitution is also illegal.
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