A THAI student who allowed his upmarket flat in one of the most genteel areas of Edinburgh to be used as a brothel was sentenced to nine months in prison today.
Tanasak Sopatai, 27, who travelled to theUKon a student visa, bought the flat for Thai women who used it as a brothel, the court heard.
His defence agent Graeme Runcie told Edinburgh Sheriff Court: “He willingly allowed the premises to be used as a brothel.
“There were girls working there, they were Thai, their English was limited. Mt Sopatai met them inLondon, his English was better but by no means perfect.”
“His purpose was to meet up with a landlord and to sign a lease. There was no financial input for Mr Sopatai. The money for the rent was paid by the girls. They were using his mastery of the English language.”
Mr Runcie said his client had already served the equivalent of eight months in prison.
He said his client had overstayed his Visa, and wished to return to Thailand as soon as possible.
Sheriff Paul Arthurson said: “You have pled guilty to a serious charge. I am satisfied that I can impose a backdated custodial sentence for a duration of nine months.”
The sentence will be backdated to 27 June.
The 27-year-old’s flat was raided after a surveillance sting by police, an earlier hearing was told.
Almost 700 condoms and a number of sex toys were found at the address by detectives, the court heard.
Sopatai pleaded guilty to allowing the flat at 3/1 Castle Terrace to be used for the purposes of habitual prostitution on June 23.
Fiscal depute Melanie Ward told that hearin “directed surveillance” was being carried out at the address in June.
Police officers were watching the outside of the address when at about 5pm they saw an oriental woman looking out of the window, the fiscal said.
She then left in the direction of nearby Lothian Road, she added.
Then two minutes later a man approached the block of flats. He was on his mobile phone attempting to gain access to the stairwell, the fiscal said.
“Two minutes after that the police saw the female who had just left the address return and meet with the male and told him she was called Joanna,” the fiscal added.
“The female then described that she was wearing very little and told him she wanted £140 for one hour of sex.
“This was now within the property and as she undressed the male relayed that he only had £60 and therefore the sexual services offered was less than full sex,” the fiscal added.
Police officers then saw the woman opening the door for the man as he left the premises, the fiscal said.
Officers then identified themselves and said they had a warrant to search the premises, added the depute.
“It was noticed that the female was wearing only a towel and standing behind the door. When they entered they found Mr Sopatai and two other females within,” the fiscal added.
Sopatai confirmed to police that he lived at the address with the woman who called herself Joanna, the fiscal said.
“The search of the premises then took place, which included the finding of a number of mobile phones, money, sex toys and 687 condoms,” said the fiscal. “It was discovered that Sopatai had just rented the property and it’s also confirmed that he was aware the females within the premises were using it for the provision of sexual services.”
Sopatai had also faced claims he lived off the earnings of prostitution between March 1 and June 13 this year at five addresses, including the Castle Street flat. But that charge was dropped by the Crown after Sopatai pleaded not guilty.