Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security on Sunday arrested a 33-year-old Hanoi man for allegedly pimping models, singers and beauty queens.
Nguyen Van Hoang was arrested in the lobby of a hotel in the northern port city of Hai Phong after arranging a tryst between two sex workers and his customers upstairs.
The two sex workers -- one of whom had recently won a beauty pageant - -were caught in the act in separate rooms with their customer, police said.
The duo confessed that they had been procured by Hoang and paid US$1,000 each for half a day at the hotel.
At the police station, Hoang confessed that he derives his livelihood from pimping models, singers and beauty queens.
Hoang charges his customers from US$300-1,500 for each session, police said.
He has also procured beauties to participate in sex tours in Vietnam and abroad that costed tens of thousands of dollars each. To put this in perspective, Vietnam's per capita income remained under $2,000 last year.
Hoang took a 30 percent commission and paid his sex workers the rest.
Hoang has many customers, including entrepreneurs and wealthy Vietnamese. Police say he took trips to Ho Chi Minh City to procure new girls.
An official investigation remains underway.
This was not the first time police busted a prostitution ring involving models and beauty queens.
In June 2013, a Ho Chi Minh City court sentenced six people, including a former beauty queen, for running a prostitution racket that charged wealthy clients up to US$7,000 for sex.
Vo Thi My Xuan, 31, winner of a Mekong Delta beauty contest in 2009 and a freelance model, got two and a half years for procuring prostitution.
Prostitution is illegal in Vietnam. The social affairs ministry in August called for stricter fines against pimps and patrons in a bid to stem a surge of prostitution that followed the abolition of compulsory rehabilitation centers for sex workers last year.
Meanwhile, drug addicts are still subject to compulsory rehab.
The number of sex workers in Vietnam -- criminals according to the government -- increased last year and prostitution became harder to control, according to the social affairs ministry
A report by the ministry said the number grew to nearly 33,000 in 2013, up more than 9 percent from the previous year.
A report by newswire AFP in September quoted researchers as estimating that there are around 200,000 sex workers in Vietnam, full-time or occasional, of whom up to 40 percent are believed to be HIV-positive.
The civil society has been pressuring the government to legalize prostitution so that the industry could be regulated, triggering fierce debate from both sides of the camp.
The National Assembly, Vietnam’s legislature, is set to debate this issue at the biannual plenary session that.opened late last month.