Further investigation ordered in masseuse extortion case

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Ho Chi Minh City's People Procuracy on Monday rejected a police proposal to charge a massage parlor owner and five others with exploiting and extorting money from their staff, saying further investigation was needed.

No further explanation for the probe has been provided to date.

According to the police, Phan Cao Tri, 37, recruited women as masseuses for his six parlors in the city and the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong.

He then imposed several regulations like forcing them to work from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day without letting them go out of the parlors, the police said, adding that those who tried to escape or received complaints from customers would be captured, heavily beaten and tortured.

Anyone who violated his regulations would be required to pay VND24 million (US$1,299) in fines as well, according to the police.

He also asked the women's families for ransom of VND20-24 million each person, if the women wanted to get out of the job, the police said.

The police have so far estimated that Tri and his wife, Phan Thi Yen, together with his managers and deputy managers Phan Viet Hau, Phan Quoc Cuong, Nguyen Minh Phuong, and Nguyen Hoai Nhanh had extorted VND518 million from 25 female staffers.

The gang was busted in December 2008 following accusations made by women in Tri's main parlor, Tan Hoang Phat, in Thu Duc District, from where the police rescued 65 women.

They also confiscated two pistols with seven bullets that Tri allegedly used to threaten the women.

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