A brothel madam has had her assets frozen as prosecutors bid to seize £250,000 in allegedly dirty money from her, a court heard today.
Chin Chih Chang was convicted of running a vice den from a luxury waterfront apartment block in Kirkcaldy.
She insisted she was a professional masseuse and had “no idea” the scantily clad young Asians she employed were selling sex to her clients.
But in reality Chang was selling sex through ads on Gumtree to local punters who paid between £80 and £110 a time for sessions at their home or in the flat in the upmarket Lord Gambier Wharf development in Kirkcaldy’s harbour district.
Chang dodged a jail term over the scheme following a trial last year – but now prosecutors have launched confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act in a bid to recover cash earned through the illicit business.
Today Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard Chang’s bank accounts had been frozen as a result of the action – leaving her with only £5 to hand.
Her solicitor, David Bell, said: “The case is becoming overwhelming in terms of the amount of information.
“Her position is that the money in the deposits that went into her account were in relation to a legitimate business and sums of money transferred overseas were repayments of loans from family members.
“Last week I received a large bundle of documents in Mandarin that are apparently relevant to receipts that have been issued to customers.
“Matters are complicated by the fact she lives in the south of England.
“The Crown are seeking to confiscate a sum of a quarter of a million pounds and if the court made a finding that that was the amount due, if it isn’t paid there would be an alternative sentence available for years of imprisonment.”
Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC adjourned the case to a hearing on May 23 to allow the defence further time to prepare for a full proof hearing.
Last year’s trial saw jurors and lawyers frequently descended into laughter as a series of punters gave evidence about their time at Chang’s brothel.
One told how he’d received a “Brucie bonus” as a scantily clad woman gave him an “unexpected bonus” of a “happy ending” after his back rub.
A police officer later told how he found a customer engaging in sex acts with a woman during a raid on the property – describing him as “cocky”.
But Chang insisted she was running a legitimate business – and said the £30,000 in dirty money she transferred to her native Taiwan was cash for her son.
Asked if she knew why the male clients would ask if other women were available when they turned up she said: “Some people want noodles today and rice tomorrow.”
PC Kevin Daglish told the court how he entered a room at the flat, which had initially been blocked by Chang, and found witness Alasdair McIntosh with his “buttocks in the air”.
“I observed his buttocks in the air and underneath him was a female with her legs wrapped around him.
“I told him to get off and get up. He rolled off the female and stood up.
“I would have expected him to have tried to cover up but he just stood there with a grin on his face as if he wasn’t bothered about the scenario.
“I had to tell him to go and get dressed. He walked with no shame, arrogantly. He was quite cocky.”
Mr McIntosh had earlier told the trial he had responded to a Gumtree advert and gone to the flat for a massage on his “sore back” – but had received an “unexpected bonus”.
Prospective client Andrew Wilson said he had arranged appointments by text with Chang – and received a reply offering “the girlfriend experience” or a “naked massage” but had arranged to pay £40 for a non-sexual service.
James Saunders later told how he had handed £80 to Chang before receiving a “topless massage” from a young Asian woman.
Chang, 53, of Eaton Road, Hove, Sussex, denied charges on indictment of keeping or managing a brothel at the flat in Lord Gambier Whard, Kirkcaldy, between April 18 2016 and May 31 2017.
But she was convicted following a five-day trial and sentenced to a community payback order with 300 hours unpaid work and a restriction of liberty order placing her on an electronic tag from 8pm till 6am for a year.