A married couple from Kildare who allowed their rented home to be used as a brothel have been spared jail after a judge suspended their sentences.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the Chinese couple advertised a massage service online and men could pay €20 for extra sexual services from a woman named ‘Apple’.
The brothel was uncovered when the landlord called to inspect the house in February 2012 and a woman stuck her head out of an upstairs window and told him they were closed.
He also noticed red lights which the couple told him were Christmas lights. He was suspicious and contacted gardaí.
Garda Christopher O’Leary said that Qilong Chen earned around €400 a week from the money the prostitute paid to him. He said there was no element of coercion or exploitation and that it was a mutually convenient arrangement for the three adults involved.
Mr Chen, aged 29, and his wife Xia Chen, aged 27, of Patrick’s St, Newbridge, Co Kildare, each pleaded guilty to knowingly permitting their premises at Alderpark Court, Tallaght, Dublin, to be used for prostitution between April 2 and May 15, 2012.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended an 18-month sentence on both of them and ordered Mr Chen to pay a €500 fine.
Garda Christopher O’Leary told John Byrne, prosecuting, that, during a Garda surveillance operation, two men were stopped after leaving the house. One man said he had found a number for a massage parlour in the Golden Pages and had spoken to a woman. She had given him the Tallaght address and he had paid €50 when he got there.
He told gardaí he received a full body massage and afterwards the masseuse masturbated him.
A second man said he had searched online for ‘Tallaght massage’ and found a very basic website with a phone number. He was directed by Ms Chen to the house where a woman told him it was €30 for a half-hour massage. He was asked if he wanted to pay another €20 for a “hand job” but he declined and paid the €30. During the massage, he was again offered the additional sexual service and he again declined.
Garda O’Leary said the masseuse was a 37-year-old woman who had arrived in Ireland in 2011 and later responded to a job ad in a Chinese newspaper.
Mr Chen said the woman, Apple, was living with the couple and giving sexual services in the form of masturbation but not full penetrative sex. He said Apple would keep some of the money and give some of it to him. He created the website and his wife answered the telephone.
Mary Rose Gearty, defending, said that Mr Chen had worked at a hotel for over eight years and had provided crucial support to his wife, who suffers from chronic mental health issues.