Chinese brothel-owner jailed for trafficking women and threatening them with violence

Chinese massage prostitute trafficker is jailed for five years and has €24,000 confiscated

The accused and her family had taken control of the women and taken away their passports
The accused and her family had taken control of the women and taken away their passports

A woman from Hamrun has been jailed for five years for trafficking three Chinese women for the purposes of prostitution.

Chinese national Lin Han, 39, had been charged in 2013 with human trafficking, managing a brothel, living off the earnings of prostitution and other related offences.              

Lin Han used to run the Honey Girl Beauty Spa in Balzan, which would offer massage services, added sexual favours at an additional premium

The police spoke to close to nearly 200 clients as part of the investigation. The premises were raided on 3 February 2013, where police found three Chinese women, contraceptives and a vibrator. Inside a BMW X3 belonging to the accused, they also found 92 condoms.

Lin was subsequently arrested and police found a large sum of money at her house. She claimed to only be the receptionist, but further investigations found that she was a shareholder together with a Tony Vassallo in the operating company, TMC.

The three girls inside the parlour were in Malta legally, lured to work as masseuses. They told the court they did not know that they were required to offer sexual services.

One of the women, from Guangdong province, said she had been greeted at the Malta Airport by Vassallo, and taken to Lin Han’s father where she was to live. Together with two other women, they would be driven by Lin’s father every day to the parlour. She signed a contract in Chinese for a salary of €750 monthly, including accommodation and food, but was told that the contract was “for the government” and not for them.

She was then paid a 25% cut on massages, and 50% on sexual services.

After their arrest, Lin’s father warned them not to admit to anything; Lin herself sent them a picture of a woman who had been beaten up for speaking out. “Lin Han used to say that her boyfriend Tony was mafia so they were afraid and after they admitted to the charges against them they asked for police protection. Lin Han used to say that Tony was the boss,” they told the police.

Lin was the owner of two Maltese companies, T & TMC Limited and Hua Xia Malta; she transferred her shares to Anthony Vassallo in May 2012; while her other involvement in BAT International Trading was registered in February 2013.

The magistrate decreed that the three women had been brought to Malta on false pretences, working long hours with few days off, under threat that they would not be paid.

The accused and her family had taken control of the women, taken away their passports, making them sign a contract when their working conditions were totally different from those promised when they were in China.

The women testified that the accused “threatened them with visuals and also making them fear Tony, described as ‘Mafia’, if they did not perform sexual services, although they were brought here to perform normal massage.”

They were subjected to constant threats by the accused and her family and were told that the Maltese were bad people, so they shouldn’t speak to anyone.

Magistrate Astrid May Grima ruled that all the charges, bar one, were sufficiently proven and jailed Lin for five years, ordering the forfeiture of the €24,000 in cash confiscated from her residence. A protection order was issued for the women involved.

Superintendent Louise Calleja prosecuted.