A total of 86 people were arrested in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district during an anti-vice operation on Saturday.
After a 4-month undercover police operation, officers raided three bars on Hillwood Road, Chatham Road and Austin Road. There, they arrested 65 women from Thailand aged between 19 and 45 for breaching their conditions of stay, with 17 of them accused of allegedly soliciting for an immoral purpose, news website HK01.com reported.
A further 21 persons, including one man and one woman holding foreign passports, were arrested for allegedly keeping a vice establishment, illegal bookmaking, assisting in keeping a vice establishment and drug trafficking.
A total of HK$120,000 cash (US$15,292), a small trace of suspected cocaine, three knives, nine mobile phones, one computer and suspected illegal betting records were confiscated.
The three licensed bars are said to be high-end drinking establishments where monthly turnover can reach HK$5 million (US$637,000). Thai women working out of the bars were reportedly earning between HK$30,000 to HK$60,000 (US$3,800 to US$7,600) a month, with free accommodation provided by the bars.
An initial investigation showed that some of the arrested people were triad members, Sing Pao reported.
It was understood that officers disguised as customers were able to ascertain that the Thai women offered sexual services.