Koror, Palau – On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, the Palau Supreme Court Trial Division convicted Defendant, Yanxiang “Alice” Zu, a national of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), of Violating the Foreign Investment Act and Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree for her role in operating a prostitution business out of the Jia Ren Massage Parlor on the third floor of the Fuji Restaurant building.
Ms. Zu pled guilty as part of a plea agreement reached between the Defendant and the Republic through the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Writing for the Palau Supreme Court, Presiding Justice Kathleen M. Salii found that between August 1, 2019 and June 14, 2020, Ms. Zu “worked as an owner or part-owner of the Jia Ren Massage Parlor on the third floor of Fuji Restaurant, directly or indirectly as an investor, without first obtaining approval for such business enterprise as required under 28 PNC § 103” and “did knowingly advance or profit by prostitution when she aided or caused Congying Liu to commit or engage in prostitution or solicit patrons….”
Accepting the terms of the plea agreement, the Court sentenced Defendant to pay $1,500 in fines and serve two years probation. The OSP requested that Defendant serve 30 days incarceration. However, after hearing oral argument on the issue, the Court elected to impose but suspend the 30 days provided Defendant complies with all terms of probation and obey all laws of the Republic and the Court. The remaining charges against Defendant in the Criminal Information were dropped as part of the plea. The Special Prosecutor did not seek deportation against Defendant, a non-citizen, because she is married to a Palauan citizen who is currently incarcerated in the Philippines on unrelated charges. A copy of the complete sentencing order is posted on the OSP website.
This case is one of several criminal prosecutions based on a joint investigation conducted by the Anti-Human Trafficking Office and the Office of the Special Prosecutor last year. Co-Defendant Congying Liu was previously convicted at trial and sentenced for Prostitution in connection with her role in the case. Co-Defendant and Ngaraard Governor, Benjamin Iskawa, who is charged with five felonies and six misdemeanors in the case, is scheduled for trial before Presiding Justice Salii beginning July 20, 2021.