News and Press Releases

Lead Defendant Employed more than 100 Women to Work as Prostitutes

October 31, 2008

Two foreign nationals were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle for their roles operating a brothel most recently in Newcastle, Washington. YIN HOO YAP, 34, a citizen of Malaysia, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and three years of supervised release. YAP’s employee, KOU CHWUNG LIU, 53, a citizen of China, was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release. Both pleaded guilty in July 2008, to Conspiracy to Transport Individuals in Furtherance of Prostitution. Both men were in the United States illegally and likely will be deported following their prison terms. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the sentence saying “the tragedy of these cases is that culturally in Southeast Asia it is more acceptable for young people to be drawn in to this activity.”

According to records filed in the case, over the last three years, YAP operated a brothel in the Seattle area. The brothel was in various locations until law enforcement shut down the Newcastle location in June 2008. At any given time two to three Asian women worked at the brothel. The women would travel from various cities across the U.S. to work at the brothel for ten days, then they would move on to brothels in other cities. YAP would transport the women between the airport and the brothel and discussed their travel arrangements. YAP would advertise the women and their sexual services on his website. YAP employed LIU to live at the brothel, greet the customers and transport the prostitutes. LIU also did cooking, cleaning and collected YAP’s share of the fees. Over the last three years more than 100 prostitutes were employed at YAP’s brothel.

“The defendants in this case not only exploited women for personal profit, they operated one of the brothels in a residential neighborhood within walking distance of an elementary school,” said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations in Seattle. “ICE will continue to leverage its investigative resources by working closely with other law enforcement agencies to stop these types of reprehensible criminal enterprises.”

As part of his plea agreement, YAP forfeited to the government more than $50,000 and a 2004 Lexus SUV.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Greenberg and Ye-Ting Woo.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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