|Phan Cao Tri (R), 41, the owner of Tan Hoang Phat massage parlors, was sentenced to 12 years for "illegally detaining people" and "extorting people's properties."— Photo doisongphapluat
HCM CITY (VNS)— The HCM City People's Court yesterday sentenced the owner of a massage parlor to 12 years in prison for illegally detaining a total of 73 women at a local chain of unlicensed massage parlors after a two-day trial.
Phan Cao Tri, 41, the owner of Tan Hoang Phat massage parlors, was sentenced to 12 years for "illegally detaining people" and "extorting people's properties."
His accomplices were also given prison sentences for "illegally detaining people". Phan Viet Hau, 29, was sentenced to 10 years in jail; and Phan Quoc Cuong, 37, to nine years. Nguyen Minh Phuong received a three-year sentence, and Nguyen Hoai Nhanh, a one-year sentence.
Tri's wife Phan Thi Yen was sentenced to four years for property extortion.
In January 2011, a court in HCM City convicted Tri and his gang of the same charges and sentenced him to 12 years in prison and the others to two to10 years.
An appeals court later that year, however, reduced Tri's sentence to five years, and the others to between one and half years and four and half years.
The Supreme Court last year issued a re-hearing decision that annulled both previous verdicts due to "serious violations of procedure" and ordered that the investigation be started afresh.
According to the latest indictment, Tri and Yen founded the chain of massage parlors across the city and recruited women, most of them from poor families in the Mekong Delta, to work as masseuses.
They signed labour contracts with terms regarding working time and policies in accordance with laws, but once employed, the women were forced to work from 9 am to 1 am.
The masseuses were also forced to give sexual massage to customers, and if requested by customers, they had to have sex with them.
Prosecutors said the women were not paid and had to live on customers' tips.
The women were banned from leaving their parlors and had to stay at Tri's home after work.
Prosecutors said women who had unwanted pregnancies would be beaten before being forced to have an abortion.
Every year, the masseuses were allowed to take leave twice, but had to pay VND15 million (US$707) as a "deposit" before leaving. They were also asked to pay the same amount if they wanted to quit the job.
Tri and his accomplices were accused of having taken at least a total of VND184 million (nearly $8,700) from nine women who paid them so they could leave the job.
The rest of the women were rescued by police who raided the main parlour of Tan Hoang Phat in Linh Chieu Ward of Thu Duc District on December 6, 2008. — VNS