Sex worker just wants to go home to Hong Kong

ONE of three Chinese nationals arrested in Toowoomba for prostitution has told the city's Magistrates Court she just wanted to return home to Hong Kong.

Zhiling Cui had spent the eight days since her arrest in the Toowoomba police station watch house before eventually appearing in court yesterday.

A Mandarin interpreter appeared by telephone link to interpret the court proceedings to the 39-year-old and to translate her words to the court.

Police prosecutor Mike Robinson told the court detectives from the Prostitution Enforcement Task Force conducting checks of internet advertisements for sex services had found a number of ads non-compliant under the Prostitution Act.

One detective, posing as a customer, had called a mobile phone number provided in the advertisement and was directed to a Toowoomba motel.

Upon arrival, the 39-year-old defendant invited him into the unit and confirmed the price of $200 an hour for sexual services.

The detective then declared he was a police officer and detained Cui who provided her Chinese passport as identification, Sgt Robinson said.

A search of the unit had turned up a mobile phone which had a number of text messages appearing to relate to customers, $830 cash hidden in three separate parts of the room and a notebook with account details, all associated with prostitution services.

Cui told police the scribblings in the notebook were not customer accounts but that she had been practising writing in English, Sgt Robinson said.

After conducting a field interview with her via a telephone hook-up with an interpreter during which Cui denied working as a prostitute, she was arrested and taken into custody, the court heard.

However, she pleaded guilty to knowingly participating in the provision of prostitution and possessing tainted property, namely her mobile phone, the cash and a notebook.

"I plead guilty, I was wrong," Cui told the court through the interpreter.

Duty lawyer Sarah Campbell (David Burns Lawyers) said her client had no criminal history and had been in Australia for almost four months but wanted to return to Hong Kong once released from custody.

Two co-offenders had appeared in the same court the day after their arrest last week and were each fined $500, she said.

Ms Campbell said the Immigration Department had advised that no action was to be taken on her client.

Magistrate Graham Lee fined Cui $600 but gave her no time to pay and declared the eight days pre-sentence custody in lieu of the fine and ordered she be released immediately with no convictions recorded.

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