Toowoomba prostitutes caught up in undercover police raid

AN UNDERCOVER police operation to catch illegal prostitutes in Toowoomba led to two women being fined for operating out of a Newtown property.

Xia Hardcastle, 53, admitted she helped her co-offender Cuizhen Peng, 49, when her client list got too full after police busted the pair working from a Vacy St property on May 22.

Prosecutor Julia Wheaton said police had received several complaints of women operating sexual services from the property, prompting an undercover sting.

An officer called the mobile number from a classified ad to book in an appointment for him and another on May 22.

A confirmation message about 10am that day directed the officer to Vacy St when Hardcastle met him at a unit. After settling on a price and participants, the officer entered the unit and asked to use the bathroom.

The second officer then knocked on the door and was met by Hardcastle at which point the police identified themselves.

Officers seized Peng's mobile phone and documents from Hardcastle which were forfeited to the Crown.

Solicitor Claire Graham, for the pair, said her clients had fallen on hard times which pushed them into prostitution.

Ms Graham said Peng had worked in the nursing industry but due to breast cancer treatment was unable to perform the physical tasks of that job.

Ms Graham said since Hardcastle had suffered financial difficulties since her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck noted Hardcastle had previously been convicted of the same offence in 2011 and 2013 and received fines and no recorded conviction while Peng had one conviction for the same offence.

He fined then $850 each and recorded convictions.

Topics:  police operation prostitutes toowoomba police towooomba

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