14 arrested for extorting 'protection fee' from sex workers in HCMC

By Dam Huy, Thanh Nien News

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The suspects who allegedly extorted protection fee from sex workers. Photo provided by the police The suspects who allegedly extorted protection fee from sex workers. Photo provided by the police

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested 14 men of two gangs that extorted money from sex workers who want to stay on the street.
Initial investigation found the suspects, all coming from northern Vietnam, had forced the workers to pay VND200,000 a day. Some workers had to borrow money from shark loans to pay up.
They were members of two gangs, one of which earned around VND200 million (US$8,922) from 40 sex workers a month.
Police started looking into the racket after members of the gangs had a knife fight last November to compete for territories.
They arrested 13 members on January 4 and a gang leader on Wednesday when he was hiding in the northern province of Bac Giang.
Prostitution is illegal in Vietnam and sex workers will be fined if caught. Many say they receive almost no protection and support from authorities. 

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