Vice squad’s whereabouts sold to pimps for profit

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Vice squad’s whereabouts sold to pimps for profit

Police arrested a criminal ring operating in Gangnam, southern Seoul, that specialized in tailing anti-prostitution police squads and selling their exact whereabouts to pimps.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said yesterday they arrested three men, including a 33-year-old surnamed Lee and two accomplices who ran a business called Antenna, and filed a warrant to detain the suspects. The police said the suspects used two sedans and a motorcycle to tail the vice squad that hunts down illegal prostitution at massage places and officetels in Gangnam.

Lee’s two accomplices hung around police stations waiting for the vice squad to go on duty. Then they followed it, sending its whereabouts to Lee via radio.

Lee would forward the information to pimps via KakaoTalk. He would send messages such as, “The patrol car is at a gas station,” “The police are crossing Hannam Bridge,” and “They parked their car. I’ll give you an update soon,” police said.

Lee sold the information to 10 pimps and earned 4.29 million won ($3,961.6) in the last three weeks, police said.

The police said Lee was an owner of a “kiss room,” which is supposed to offer girls for kissing but nothing heavier, but got busted by police in August. That’s when he got the idea to sell the vice squad’s whereabouts to other people in the sex industry.

The police started to suspect someone was alerting the prostitutes of their approach. They put a small camera in the back window of the vice squad’s car to see if anyone was tailing them and discovered Lee’s accomplices.

The police also booked pimps who bought the information including a 27-year-old surnamed Woo.

“We also found some GPS devices and laptop computers in the suspects’ cars,” a spokesman for the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said. “They testified that they planned to use the tools to monitor our whereabouts through computers so they don’t have to tail us. Pimps sometimes put their workers outside of their shops to spot us coming but this is the first time someone has tailed us.”

The police found about 140 phone numbers of pimps in Lee’s notebook.

By Kwon Sang-soo, Han Yeong-ik [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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