The Chiayi District Prosecutors Office said today that city councilman Hong Youren (洪有仁) is accused of fraud and illegal operation of a club, China Times reported. The club, called Drunk Beauty (醉美人), allegedly operated as a brothel with alcohol, strip shows, and prostitution. Gambling was also suspected at the club. More than ten people were arrested in the investigation, at least six of whom are said to have paid bail ranging from NT$10,000 to NT$50,000. Hong has not yet been arrested because he could not be located by police.
The Drunk Beauty allegedly employed Thai transsexuals, as well as others, who operated through a broker. In all there were five Thai workers and three Vietnamese. The Thai transsexual employees reportedly charged NT$7,000 for two hours of service, with the hotel taking a NT$5,000 cut, and would engage in sex work 30 times each week.
Councilman Hong allegedly used his brother, sister-in-law, and friends as intermediaries in the operation of the club. The hotel received public assistance to employ foreign nationals; the district prosecutors office said it received NT$40,000 per month per employee between December 2014 and October 2016.
The investigation is ongoing as prosecutors determine whether workers were forced into the sex trade. If so, Hong could also be charged with human trafficking. Councilman Hong has no party affiliation.
Update: Hong Youren has been summoned to appear in court and faces up to 30 years in prison, but has not yet appeared and is still wanted by police, SETN reported. According to Chiayi City Council, members in current service of the city cannot be charged with crimes without approval from the council; Hong’s case is an exception to the rule, however.