| 15.6°C Dublin

Court charges Massage boss, Chong Fuch Ho, denies involvement in prostitution and says he was just a 'taximan'


Chong Fuch Ho, who runs the Dundalk Massage Centre talks to Patrick O’Connell

Chong Fuch Ho, who runs the Dundalk Massage Centre talks to Patrick O’Connell

Chong Fuch Ho, who runs the Dundalk Massage Centre talks to Patrick O’Connell

Meet the massage parlour boss who faces up to seven years in prison after he was nabbed driving a woman across the border for the purposes of prostitution.

But this week Chong Fuch Ho, who runs Dundalk Asian Massage Centre and Ardee Massage and Beauty Centre in Co Louth, blasted the case against him as 'bulls**t.'

Approached outside his Dundalk business as he exited a northern registered white Mercedes, Fuch Ho claimed he was simply giving the woman a lift to Newry.

He claimed to the Sunday World that as well as running the massage parlours, he always works as an unofficial taxi driver.

"Thirty euro there and thirty euro back," he said. "Sixty euro and now this could cost me seven years of freedom. I didn't know what she was doing there. It's all bulls**t."

Both Mr Fuch Ho (48) and his business partner in the massage parlours, Xianjan Lin (42) of Castletown Road in Dundalk, have been charged before Newry Magistrates Court with controlling prostitution for gain.


The Dundalk Massage Centre

The Dundalk Massage Centre

The Dundalk Massage Centre

The court heard the pair were arrested at 2am on October 18 when police received a report of suspicious activity on Monaghan Street in Newry, Co Down.

Officers monitoring CCTV had observed a Land Rover Freelander stop on the street and two females get out of the vehicle before they approached an address.

One of the females entered the property, with the other returning to the Land Rover.

This woman is believed to have been Xianjan Lin, the court heard.

Police located the second female in the property with a male.

It was believed that he had organised for the woman to attend his home using an escorts' website.

A quantity of suspected Class A drug was also seized from the address, with the male being arrested and later charged with paying for sexual services and possession of a Class A Drug.

The two occupants of the Land Rover - Chong Fuch Ho and Lin - were subsequently arrested and charged with controlling prostitution for gain.


The Dundalk Massage Centre

The Dundalk Massage Centre

The Dundalk Massage Centre

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

During the pair's appearance before the Magistrates Court, police described the charge as "a serious indictable offence" - saying it is also believed it could be linked to the trafficking of foreign nationals into this country for sexual exploitation.

A detective constable said the pair could be part of a "large international organised crime gang".

But, speaking with the Sunday World, Mr Ho described the suggestion he was part of an international trafficking crime gang as laughable.

"On that night, it was just like a local person asked me for a lift … I did not know anything and then suddenly they arrest me," he said.

"All I know is they said 'wait for her, drop her down there and bring her back'.

"They give €30 there and €30 back.

"So one journey there is €30 and coming back is €30, so that's €60.

"That's all and then suddenly they arrest me … I haven't a clue."

Asked why his business partner was with him in the car, Mr Fuch Ho replied: "We are both in this massage centre.

"And they say she has three or four phones. But we don't know that is against the law. I don't know what they are charging for.

"Now they are accusing me of human trafficking. And the girl we gave a lift to down there … I don't even know her. And she don't even know me. I only give a lift to get the money.

"When the police first questioned me they didn't say anything about human trafficking or prostitution.

"I didn't know it was a house I was dropping her to - she told me it was a hotel."

During the pair's first court appearance, police reported that the female who had been inside the property had been interviewed by immigration.

It was discovered she was an illegal immigrant and had applied for political asylum in the Republic of Ireland.

A detective constable stated: "She has said she was not trafficked into this country but she also says she does not know how she got here, having passed through many airports before arriving in Dublin on October 5.

"Upon her arrival, her passport was taken from her and she has not seen it since."

Mr Fuch Ho claimed to the Sunday World he knew nothing of the girl's situation.

"The solicitor told me they already released the girl," he said. "But they kept me in custody for the two days.

"I am on bail for almost three weeks now but I haven't spoken to the solicitor since."

Asked about the police claim that he and Xianjan could be part of a large organised crime gang, Mr Fuch Ho responded: "They are making a big issue there. I was just driving on the road, they arrest me, and I don't have a clue.

"It's just all bulls**t. They are making a big issue of that.

"When I was in the custody they never mentioned human trafficking and then in the court they mention human trafficking and I was shocked.

"I have lived here for 37 years - I came here when I was 10 and I have never been involved in anything.

"And now for a stupid €60 they are saying I'm involved in human trafficking.

"Seven year for that kind of s**t … seven years … it's f**king stupid."

Appearing on Mr Fuch Ho's behalf, defence solicitor Ruairi Gillen rejected the police charge that his client was involved in any kind of trafficking.

"There is no suggestion of violence, no brothel involved, no poor living conditions and in the absence of all of these I would submit it is at the lower end of the scale," he said.

Both defendants were granted their own bail of £2,500 with conditions.

The case was subsequently adjourned for an update from the prosecution.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices