A total of nine foreign women forced into prostitution in Taiwan have been rescued by Taipei police in a recent operation, during which the alleged mastermind behind the gang was also arrested.
After collecting intelligence over a period of several months, the police said on Saturday that several places were recently raided, including properties in New Taipei.
During the operation, six suspects were arrested, including a Taiwanese man surnamed Chen, who is believed to be the head of the prostitution ring.
Several women forced into prostitution were also rescued, including victims from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, the Criminal Investigation Division under Taipei City Police Department said.
The suspects are currently being held by New Taipei prosecutors after initial police interrogations, the police said.
Acting on tips from the public about a prostitution ring in New Taipei and other areas, the police initially arrested a Taiwanese man surnamed Wu, who was in charge of the foreign women.
Based on further information, they later tracked down the head of the gang, the police said.
The investigation found that Chen scammed women from Southeast Asian countries with promises of work in Taiwan, the police said.
However, when the women arrived, their passports were taken away and they were confined to suites or motels by gang members, the police added.
The gang was found to use drugs to control the women, forcing them into prostitution, the police said, adding that the victims also included runaway illegal foreign migrant workers.
During the investigation, the police found that the gang placed sex service ads on online forums, with prices ranging from NT$1,800 (US$58.8) to NT$3,000, the police said.