The Irrawaddy

Suspected Chinese Sex Workers Face Additional Charges for Violating Visa Regulations

YANGON — Nineteen Chinese citizens arrested at a beauty parlor allegedly operating as a brothel in Yangon’s South Okkalapa Township will face additional charges for violating visa regulations.

“They were on business visas. The Immigration Department has brought charges for violation of visa regulations. We have sought the remarks [of upper-level authorities] to establish the case. Then, we will charge them officially,” said police captain Shwe Htay, head of the South Okkalapa Township police force.

Acting on a tip, police raided the Oriental Spa on Waizayandar Street on the morning of May 22.

A total of 28 people including 17 Chinese women and two Chinese men were arrested, and police have filed charges against the Chinese women under Article 3 (a) and (b) of the 1949 Suppression of Prostitution Law.

Eleven others including the Chinese managers of the beauty parlor were charged under Article 5 (1) for pimping. The charges carry jail terms of between one and three years in jail with hard labor.

Under Article 4 (2) of Myanmar’s Immigration Emergency Provisions Act of 1947, they may be expelled from the country and under Article 13 (1), they may be punished by six to five years in prison and/or a fine.

The second trial took place on Wednesday and plaintiff police lieutenant Tint Lwin Oo appeared at the court.

“I recounted what I saw during the arrest,” he said.

The owner of Oriental Spa is still at large, police captain Shwe Htay confirmed. “We’ve issued an arrest warrant for him. We’ve informed concerned police stations and airports,” he said.

U Myint Than, a lawyer for four Myanmar women also on trial, said his clients were from Shan State and that they had seen Oriental Spa’s job advertisement on social media and been working there for only a couple of days when they were arrested and accused of pimping under Article 5 (1).

He said they had come from Lashio and Kutkai and rented a house in South Okkalapa Township.

“They hadn’t even received any money yet,” he said.

Three men also arrested on May 22 were employees of a cleaning service and were cleaning the beauty parlor when police showed up.

The next trial is set for July 4.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.