A woman who earned a living from her Sheffield flat by pimping out a prostitute using online adverts was caught out when she made false claims to police in a bid to ‘eliminate competition from a brothel’.
During a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court today, Recorder Margia Mostafa, jailed Yue Dong for 22 months for offences of controlling a prostitute for gain and wasting police time.
The court heard how Dong’s offending was brought to light in April this year, after she called South Yorkshire Police using a false name and gave details of a woman she claimed was at risk of sexual exploitation in Northumbria.
“This led to two police forces making enquiries,” said Richard Sheldon, prosecuting.
He added: “Then on April 17, Northumbria Police received a phone call from the defendant using the name Yang Wong. She said she had come to the UK to work in a massage parlour and had been forced into sex with clients and gave a false address.”
Mr Sheldon told the court that both claims were ‘complete red herrings’ but both South Yorkshire Police and Northumbria Police took them seriously and were forced to implement ‘life at risk procedures’.
South Yorkshire Police soon realised the claims were false and went to arrest Dong, 35, at her Western Bank address on April 22, when officers found her in bed with five mobile phones on her pillow.
When interviewed by police, Dong told officers she was paid £1,000 to make the calls to police on behalf of a friend in an attempt ‘eliminate the competition from a brothel’.
During the course of their investigation, police found proof on Dong’s electronic devices that she had sent ‘numerous customers’ to a 54-year-old Chinese sex worker living in Portsmouth.
The court heard how most of the soliciting, which took place between January and April this year, was arranged online from her flat in Sheffield and Dong used sites such as Gumtree and UK Adult Zone to sell the sex worker’s services.
Mr Sheldon said: “Dong used photographs of other women to hide the fact the prostitute was in her mid-50s.”
Dong, who attended court wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, took a cut of £10 from every client she sent to the sex worker’s home, the court heard.
When interviewed by the police, the sex worker told officers that she never felt ‘pressured or intimidated’ by Dong.
She pleaded guilty to the charges of controlling a prostitute for gain and wasting police time when her trial was due to begin last week.
Francis Edusei, defending, said Dong had not employed the ‘most sophisticated approach to these things’.
He added: “She was involved with one person, who was many miles away..and clearly there was no element of coercion.”
As she sent her to prison, Recorder Mostafa told Dong: “You were controlling this prostitute, not only by arranging customers for her, but by placing adverts on Gumtree and UK Adult Zone sites.”
Recorder Mostafa added that because Dong, a Chinese national, is not in the country legally, she will most likely be deported after serving some of her sentence.
“But that is a matter for the Home Office,” she said.