Mother of three in Calgary linked to cross-Canada sex ring
By Richard Cuthbertson
Canwest News Service
December 19, 2009
CALGARY—A pregnant mother of three is facing deportation after she was arrested during an ongoing investigation of an alleged Calgary sex trade ring that could have tentacles stretching across Canada.
Calgary police raided a downtown apartment suite Wednesday that they say was used to co-ordinate the cross-country movement of sex workers. Officers also seized computers suspected of being used to post prostitution advertisements to the Internet.
The execution of the search warrant is the latest move in a Calgary-based human trafficking and sex trade investigation that broke open recently, after undercover officers posed as pimps to buy two women for $8,000 and police raided three alleged brothels.
That led to human trafficking charges earlier this month against one woman accused of using a Calgary hair salon as a front for the operation.
Police believe the ring has ties to organized crime.
“The ability to sell somebody else, its safe to say theres an organized crime element to it,” Staff Sgt. Colin Adair said Friday.
Wednesdays search warrant was executed at the apartment of Sui Ling Wong and her new Canadian husband, a residence only a block from police headquarters.
Officers seized 10 cellphones and two computers that they are now analyzing for evidence.
Wong is facing deportation because shes overstayed her visitors visa.
The 36-year-old has not been charged with offences related to Wednesdays search warrant, but the Canada Border Services Agency told an immigration hearing on Friday the search warrant accuses Wong of human trafficking and running a brothel in Calgary in September.
Police say there is a link between the case involving Wong and the one involving the hair salon, although they wouldnt elaborate on how they are connected.
Wong remains in custody pending her deportation to Hong Kong after an Immigration and Refugee Board member refused to grant her release on Friday. The border agency she poses a flight risk.
Wong came to Canada as a visitor in February. When she arrived at Vancouver airport, she said she was looking for schools for her three children, the immigration hearing was told.
Wong, who has two ex-husbands, then headed to Calgary, where she apparently fell in love and married a Canadian man in September. She is now four months pregnant.
Wong denies having anything to do with a sex-trade ring, the hearing was told.
But border agency hearing officer Catherine King said there have been “numerous” deposits into Wongs Canadian bank account, totalling thousands of dollars. Wong told the border agency these were winnings from a casino, the hearing heard.
Her lawyer, Gavin Grant, argued his client should be released from custody pending her deportation.
But immigration review board member Geoff Rempel rejected Wongs bid for release, saying he was concerned about her credibility. During questioning by border agency officers, she apparently couldnt remember the name of her ex-husband she divorced in 2008, nor her address.
“Im very skeptical that you wouldnt remember that kind of information,” Rempel said.
Wong will return on Wednesday for a hearing to review whether she remains in custody.
Linh Quy To, 52, who faces charges in relation to the hair salon investigation, was granted bail last week and is back in provincial court on Jan. 7.
She faces three human trafficking charges and is also accused of keeping a common bawdy house, living off the avails of prostitution and possessing proceeds of crime over $5,000.