Gladstone sex worker caught operating from massage parlour
A GLADSTONE sex worker caught operating from an illegal prostitution business has pleaded with a magistrate not to impose a jail term.
Sikching Ngai was emotional when she fronted Gladstone Magistrates Court on Wednesday facing several charges, including engaging in prostitution through an unlawful prostitution business and obtain prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic.
The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to five charges from the custody dock, with the help of a Mandarin-speaking translator.
The court was told Ngai's offending occurred over two periods, the first in May.
The court was told that, in a covert police mission, officers went undercover as customers at a massage parlour.
A police officer paid money to a third party and was led into a room.
Inside was Ngai who offered her prostitution services.
Ngai was given notice to appear in court but failed to do so.
She was at large until February 3 when she was arrested.
The court was told police became aware of an advertisement they found to be not compliant with the Queensland Prostitution Act.
Police attended the woman's address at Clinton where Ngai offered a police officer oral sex without using protection.
Under the act "a prostitute must not offer to provide prostitution involving sexual intercourse or oral sex without a prophylactic being used".
Police also found over $2000 in cash, a notebook with client details and a mobile phone, which revealed a third party had been directing clients to Ngai.
Defence lawyer Rio Ramos said Ngai was previously on a student visa, however, had applied for a refugee visa.
Ms Ramos said upon release, Ngai would return home to Hong Kong.
"She has a 19-year-old son in Hong Kong who suffers from cataract," Ms Ramos said.
"He had to take two years off school and needs to undergo an entrance exam to get into university.
"Her work as a sex worker is to support her son."
However, spending two days behind bars was enough for Ngai to realise she no longer wanted to perform sex work, the court was told.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said the Queensland Police Service was submitting for a community-based probation order or a wholly suspended jail term to deter further offending.
Ngai begged Mr Kinsella to consider a fine.
"I'm sorry for the trouble I have caused," she said.
"I truly regret what I have done. I want to go home. I have spent the Chinese New Year in prison.
"It is a shame in my culture. After only a few days in prison, I don't want to be here any more."
Mr Kinsella said there were a "multitude of good reasons" the sex work industry needed to be regulated.
"Extending from taking advantage of women, through to general health considerations," he said.
Mr Kinsella imposed a $3000 fine and recorded a conviction.