Dundalk residents’ misery as sex punters continually mistake family homes for brothel
‘On a Sunday morning somebody we actually knew was coming out… We were shocked’
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Residents on a residential Dundalk street have told how their lives became hell when a brothel opened up beside them and punters would continually call to their home mistaking it for the “house of ill repute”.
One resident on Chapel Street in Dundalk, where the brothel was in operation across the road from a school for more than two years also said people videoed a male relative leaving their home and tried to extort money from them after they mistook their house for the brothel.
Sammy Hui (59), who has an address at Wellington Quay in Drogheda, was given 200 hours community service at Dundalk Circuit Court in lieu of 18 months in prison for involvement in the brothel in Dundalk between April 1, 2019 and November 25, 2021.
Hui, who is originally from Hong Kong but has been living in Ireland for 30 years, rented the property from an unsuspecting letting agent so it could be run as a brothel.
During his recent court appearance at Dundalk Circuit Court, the judge noted Hui thought there were no victims as the women involved were consenting adults but this was incorrect as neighbours were significantly affected.
Hui has been involved in a number of businesses, including massage parlours and restaurants and has lived at various locations in Ireland, including Dublin, Louth and Wexford.
He has links to another Chinese man who was previously arrested in another jurisdiction in relation to running brothels but who was later released without charge.
That man as well as Hui were seen calling to the house in Dundalk, either dropping women off or collecting things before leaving.
Neighbours told the Sunday World they would see groups of women being dropped off with suitcases to work in the brothel and new women would arrive every three weeks to replace the ones who had been there before.
One local woman said she was plagued by men mistakenly calling to her door thinking it was the brothel and how on one occasion, her teenage granddaughter answered the door to a man looking for the brothel.
“You have nice neighbours all your life and then you have them coming in next door. It’s disgusting. You’d see them coming in the middle of night and dropping girls off and taking off the ones who had been there. They were exchanging them.”
She said in the first few days of their arrival she didn’t realise a brothel had been set up.
“I saw different girls and all that and knew there were girls there and fellas going in and I thought they were friends.
“I was standing talking to a neighbour and he said ‘do you think it’s a house of ill repute?’
“That’s when I first realised.”
Soon she was plagued by men calling to her home and said she stopped answering the door completely and had difficulty sleeping at night over the issue.
She said she would always see men pacing around on the street on their mobile phones before being let into the nearby brothel when they weren’t mistaking it for her house.
The woman’s daughter said it was a big concern to the family that men looking for the brothel kept calling.
She added: “She’s not a big woman and somebody could push past here. You don’t know if they have drink or drugs on them. You’d be afraid. ”
“It wasn’t even us alone. My niece, who is only 15, answered the door when she was here with her mum and was expecting a friend and she opened the door to one of them. A 15-year-old!”
The woman said she also answered the door herself to men looking for the brothel.
“If you answered, they’d just look at you because they didn’t know if they were at the right house or not. I’d say ‘what do you want’ and they’d go ‘eh, I think I have the wrong house’.”
She said men ranging in age from young adults to pensioners were calling to the brothel morning, noon and night.
“On a Sunday morning we were going out and somebody we actually knew was coming out… We were kind of shocked.”
After he left another customer arrived almost immediately.
Another neighbour we spoke to on the street said a male relative was leaving her house and a couple videoed him and tried to extort money from him because they wrongly believed her house was the brothel.
“There was someone across the road in a car who recorded him leaving our house and threatened to go to the Guards because he was leaving a brothel. They didn’t live here. They wanted money out of him. ”
Her relative reported the incident to Gardaí.
After complaints from multiple neighbours and local TD Ruairí Ó Murchú on behalf of the neighbours, Gardaí spoke to a number of men and women who were seen leaving the premises.
Onewoman admitted she was a prostitute and said she paid €350 a week to operate from the house.
The brothel has since been shut down permanently and new tenants are now living there. However, local residents say there is a house in nearby street now believed to be operating as a brothel.