24 May 2010

Chinese woman appears in Tonga court on human trafficking charges

3:14 pm on 24 May 2010

A woman has appeared in court in Tonga on charges of brothel-keeping, human trafficking and trading in prostitution.

It's alleged 44 year old Chinese national Lirong Liu lured two women from China to Tongatapu with promises of waitressing jobs but instead forced them to work as prostitutes.

The Matangi Tonga website reports the alleged victims told a preliminary inquiry that Ms Liu threatened to throw them in the ocean if they did not do the work and say she received nearly all the money they earned.

The prosecution asked them why they didn't go to the authorities.

The women says they were hampered by the language barrier and feared Ms Liu would find out.

Magistrate Sione 'Etika found there was a prima facie case against Ms Liu and submitted it to the Supreme Court for arraignment next month.

Her co-accused 52 year old Jun Yang was discharged due to insufficient evidence.