Notebooks key in illegal brothel case, court hears
Notebooks found in the car of a woman alleged to be a kingpin in Melbourne's illegal brothel trade will form a key part of the police case against her, a court heard today.
Magistrate Charlie Rosencwajg said the notebooks were the accounts of a business in which Xue Di 'Jenny' Yan claimed to have had no involvement.
They were allegedly found when police stopped Yan's car.
Yan, 50, Hao Yong 'Tony' Tang, 50, and Anton Lu, 51, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today for the first day of a committal hearing on charges of bribery and illegal prostitution.
They are accused of controlling brothels in Melbourne's inner city and northern suburbs and bribing former Yarra City Council officer Ken Wolfe in order to avoid inspections by police and council officials.
Wolfe, who was responsible for shutting down suspected illegal brothel premises by charging them with breaching planning regulations, resigned as the council's co-ordinator of planning enforcement after his town hall office was raided by police in November 2010.
He pleaded guilty to accepting more than $130,000 in bribes in exchange for warning illegal brothel owners about raids and was jailed in November to three years and two months, with a non-parole period of 20 months.
He is due to give evidence at the committal hearing on Thursday.
Yan has been charged with 35 offences including bribing a public official with payments totalling $23,827.41 and working as a sex work provider without a licence.
Tang was charged with 106 offences, including making corrupt payments to a council official totalling $77,960, working as a sex work provider without a licence and living on the material benefits of prostitution.
Lu was charged with 37 offences, including inciting a local government official to supply information about the investigations into alleged illegal brothels, making corrupt payments of $20,827.41 and working as a sex work provider without a licence.
Richmond's Club Striptease owner Neil Hancock, 66, has also been charged with 52 offences, including bribing a public official with payments totalling $12,720. It is alleged sexual services were offered at his club without a licence. He was not required to appear in court today because the witnesses called were not part of the police case against him.
Handyman Daniel Smith told the court today he went to 658 Smith Street, Clifton Hill, which had a large sign on the window saying 'Comfortable Relaxation' on November 3, 2010, about 1.20pm.
Mr Smith said he went to the premises for a full body therapeutic massage, not for sex.
He agreed to pay $65, not the usual $70 fee, before a Chinese girl "squirted something that I thought was antiseptic wash in my hands and said 'wash your hands'."
"She told me to take my clothes off and as I was getting undressed, I observed her take off her black tights that she was wearing," he said.
Mr Smith said he was naked lying face down on the massage table when the woman took off all her clothes and went to touch his back before there was a loud bang on the door and police walked in.
Police claimed the premises was being used as an illegal brothel.
The hearing continues tomorrow.