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Gloucestershire Business News

Chinese man accused of running Cheltenham brothel and exploiting migrant women walks free from court

A Chinese man accused of running a brothel and sexually exploiting an immigrant woman in a flat in Cheltenham has been released from custody after the prosecution dropped the case against him yesterday.

Jinming Zhang of St George's Road, Cheltenham, had been in prison on remand since his arrest in May.

A woman who had given a statement to the police about activities at the alleged brothel interview caught a train to Bristol shortly afterwards and has since disappeared.

Gloucester Crown Court was told that as all attempts to locate her have failed the Crown Prosecution Service has made the decision not to continue the case and it formally offered no evidence.

Zhang, 38, had pleaded not guilty to four charges: arranging the travel of the woman to Cheltenham between May 2 and May 15, this year, with a view to her being exploited: controlling the activity of the woman for prostitution on May 14 and managing a brothel for prostitution on the same date.

He also denied possessing a quantity of cash knowing it to be the proceeds of criminal activity on the same date.

The court also heard that Zhang had maintained that he was only a minor employee at the property and was himself being exploited.

The Judge, Recorder James Waddington QC, formally entered not guilty verdicts on all counts and asked the advocates what were the practical consequences of the court's decision.

Guy Wyatt, defending said: "If the Home Office immigration papers do not arrive shortly, Mr Zhang will be released from custody and he will walk free."

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