Kent

Women 'posed as Huawei staff to rent flats for brothels'

Maidstone Crown Court
Image caption The women are on trial at Maidstone Crown Court, accused of conspiring to run brothels

A gang ran a network of brothels from rental properties, telling estate agents they were employees of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, a court has heard.

Sex workers were advertised online and housed in flats in Kent, Essex and London, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Hu Shuangyan, 37, Geng Yali, 20, and Wong Pikwa, 27, are charged with keeping brothels and laundering money.

The women, all Chinese nationals, deny the offences.

Alan Gardner, for the prosecution, said the women had rented flats in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Essex and London "using false names, claiming to work for the Chinese mobile phone company Huawei".

The gang had "a number of sex workers at their disposal, who would frequently change location," he said.

'Cheerleading outfit'

Police found £1,000 in cash and a woman "scantily dressed in a cheerleading outfit" when they raided one flat in Lime Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells, the court heard.

The prosecution allege Ms Hu's partner Zhang Dongning - also known as "Leo" - was at the centre of the conspiracy.

He earlier pleaded guilty to money laundering and running brothels, the court heard.

A phone found at the property in Tunbridge Wells linked Mr Zhang to Ms Hu, of St Kildas Road, Harrow, the court heard.

Phone records also connected the pair to Ms Geng and Ms Wong, both of Tomlins Walk, Islington, Mr Gardner said.

"Phone and business records and other evidence, including the movement of money, clearly show each of these defendants were participating in running or assisting in the running of these brothels," he said.

The trial continues.

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