Police in Ho Chi Minh City have launched a criminal case against five people in the local modelling industry for running an upscale prostitution ring that allegedly charged customers up to US$1,000.
A source from the police said they have asked for prosecutors’ approval to detain model trainer Le Ba Loc, 42, and four female models, all in their 20s.
Initial investigation found Loc ran the sex business, which was brought down on April 7 when police busted six sex workers serving customers at several hotels in the city.
The statement of the women, all working in the local show business industry, led the police to Loc and the four models, who were accused of brokering the service and taking 20-50 percent of the clients' payment.
Le Ba Loc at a Ho Chi Minh police station
According to the police, Loc studied acting and directing but gained little success in the industry.
He started a company in 2014 to train models and soon turned his students into sex workers.
He even pulled his 26-year-old niece Le Thi Bao Tran into the business.
The fat brokerage fee prompted Tran and several women to work as brokers as well.
Tran was among the women arrested, together with Nguyen Thi Hai Yen, Nguyen Thi Dieu Hien and Dang Thi Anh Dao.
Police said Yen and Hien were managing around ten sex workers, including college students.
A police officer said investigators had kept taps on the operation for more than a year, after being tipped off by a showbiz insider.
Dozens of officers joined the mission to follow Loc, but he was very discreet.
The source said Loc must have taken extra caution after the upscale sex racket of beauty queen Vo Thi My Xuan was busted in the city in 2012.
Xuan and other procurers went to jail a year later for brokering sex between models, singers, and actresses and wealthy clients, for up to $7,000 per time.
The officer said Loc used secret codes to deploy the women to customers over the phone.
He would pretend to send them to a photoshoot, fashion show or a casting session, but actually send them to rich clients who were waiting for sex.