THE trial of a Chinese man accused of allowing two Dublin apartments to be used as brothels has heard evidence from a number of men who used prostitutes there.
Di Wei (31) has pleaded not guilty to knowingly allowing an apartment at The Innings, Observatory Lane, Rathmines to be used as a brothel or for habitual prostitution between February 10 and April 26, 2011.
He also denied permitting an apartment at Fastnet Block, Custom House Harbour to be used for the same purposes between April 1 and July 22, 2011.
Mr Wei, with an address at Dolphin's Barn, South Circular Road, Dublin 8, admitted buying condoms for women living in the apartments, but said it was because they had a business selling condoms online.
The court heard that when the Rathmines address was raided by gardaí, Mr Wei continued to rent the apartment at Custom House Harbour.
When gardaí raided both apartments, they found women on the premises and paraphernalia associated with prostitution.
Opening the case at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, told the jury it would hear evidence that Mr Wei had been “intimately involved” in the running of brothels at both addresses.
He said transactions through Mr Wei's Permanent TSB bank account show he paid sums to a company called E-designers, which runs a website for Escort Ireland.
Gardaí will produce print-offs from the Escort Ireland website of women advertising prostitution services.
Several men took the witness stand to give evidence about using prostitution services at the apartments.
One man said he used the Escort Ireland website, which had photographs of women with phone numbers attached.
He rang a number and was directed by a woman to the apartment complex opposite Lidl at The Innings in Rathmines and given an access code for the gate.
He said a woman of “oriental origin” with limited English opened the door and he had full sexual intercourse with her in the back bedroom.
He paid her €100 beforehand and condoms were provided.
The man said he went to the apartment three times and met a different girl for sexual activity on each occasion.
The third time he went to the apartment was on April 26, 2011, when he was met by gardaí outside the gated community and arranged to make a statement.
Another man said he went to an internet café on O'Connell Street, typed in Escort Ireland and a Chinese girl came up called YoYo.
He rang the number and spoke to a girl with an Asian accent who directed him to an apartment block at the back of Connolly Station.
He saw a slim girl in her early 30s walking through the gates to the complex in front of him and realised it was her on the phone.
He followed her to the apartment and in the lift she said, “How long you stay, hour or half hour? €100 for half hour.”
He gave her €100 and she told him to get undressed and get onto the bed.
The girl left the room and then came back and started foreplaying, and asked the man if he liked massage.
He said yes and she gave him a full body massage and oral sex.
He said he went another time to a girl called Ling Ling who was aged 21 or 22.
The landlord of the Rathmines premises, Ciaran Callan, said he rented the flat to the accused man who called himself “David Wai”. He said they both signed the lease on February 15th, 2011.
Mr Callan carried out a number of repairs at the apartment including fixing a leak in the bathroom, and over Easter, he arranged with Mr Wei that he would call over to sort out an ESB bill.
Mr Callan said he was surprised when he arrived at the flat in the afternoon of April 5th, 2011 to see the curtains closed and the apartment very dark inside.
Mr Callan told Paul Green SC, defending, that he was having a coffee in the kitchen, and that Mr Wei was present, when there was a loud banging at the door, the lock popped open and at least five gardaí burst in.
He said he got a “terrible fright” and very quickly went into a state of shock.
Alan Leonard, who manages property for a partner at Connolly Lowe accountants, also gave evidence of leasing the apartment at Custom House Harbour to the accused.
Mr Leonard said he got a phone call from man called Dave who wanted to let the apartment and arranged to meet him in early April.
“I was convinced I was meeting a Dub. He spoke English with a Dublin accent perfectly,” he said.
Another man's witness statement was read out in court, describing how he got a number for a massage parlour in Buy and Sell.
He said a Chinese girl with very bad English answered the phone and that when he went to the apartment in Rathmines, she answered the door wearing knickers and a bra with a dressing gown over it.
He said he always paid €50 and that the rate was €100 for one hour.
The man said the girl gave him a back massage for 10 minutes and then asked him to turn around and gave him a front massage, followed by a hand job.
He said he was there for about 20 minutes and the girl didn't seem nervous in any way.
He added that it looked like the girl lived there, as there were clothes in the bedroom.
Another man gave evidence that he looked up the Escort Ireland website on 25th April 2011 and rang the number listed.
He was directed to the apartment in Rathmines and met a woman with broken English who seemed to be living there.
He paid €100, took off his clothes and got a front massage followed by oral sex for about five minutes.
“She offered me a condom, if I didn't want one it was no problem,” he said.
The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of six men and six women.