A brothel keeper who made £167,000 from her life of crime only has £822.09 to hand over to prosecutors as they look to seize her ill-gotten gains.
Boonsong Wannas, 63, was ordered to forfeit the sum during a proceeds of crime hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday.
Wannas was one of four criminals jailed for a total of 31 years last November for human trafficking offences committed in Glasgow.
The mother-of-two communicated with a woman in Thailand and offered her work as a masseuse and prostitute.
Wannas arranged a visa and made travel arrangements for the human trafficking victim and took her to two flats in Glasgow where she arranged for men to have sex with her for money.
The victim was in debt to money lenders in her homeland but was told by Wannas that she owed her £5,000 for airfare and the visa arrangements.
On Monday, prosecutor Dan Byrne told the judge, Lord Clark, that both the Crown and Wannas’ lawyers had agreed that she made £167,000 from her criminal activities.
However, only £822.09 could be recovered from her at this point in time.
Lord Clark then ordered Wannas to hand the sum over.
During earlier proceedings at the High Court in Glasgow, sentencing judge Douglas Brown said: “You were advertising for her clients, organising their attendance and arranging the sexual activity and the price.
“She felt she had no choice but to do as instructed as otherwise she would be unable to pay the £5,000 which you said she owed you and her outstanding debts in Thailand.”
Guilty pleas from Wannas
Wannas admitted a human trafficking offence of recruiting, transporting and harbouring the woman between November 2019 and February 2020.
She also pleaded guilty to a further charge of keeping or managing a brothel at flats in Glasgow’s Cathcart Road, Linden Street and Charlotte Street between October 2019 and February 2020.
She was jailed for six years and four months.
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Following the sentencing, her lawyers took a legal challenge to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, claiming the punishment imposed was excessive.
‘There was no compulsion’
Her counsel, Fred Mackintosh KC, told the appeal judges: “In this case, the victim came to Scotland in the full knowledge that the purpose of her visit was to carry out prostitution.
“There was no deception and no compulsion to come. She did not lie to get her here.”
He added there was no suggestion of violence from Wannas or threats of violence.
But Lord Pentland, who heard the appeal with Lord Matthews, said the victim was “vulnerable to exploitation” as she was required to pay off substantial debts to moneylenders in Thailand.
He said an agreement that Wannas should take half the woman’s earnings was “clearly unfair” and the victim was effectively trapped.
Lord Pentland said, in refusing the appeal, that exploitation of fellow human beings in the way carried out by Wannas was “degrading and deplorable”.
Prosecutors will be able to return to court if they find any more of Wannas’ assets and can ask for an order to confiscate them.