A Lisburn maintenance man says someone was “definitely” being held captive in a south Belfast house he was called to work on.
Ed Morrison said a young Vietnamese or Chinese couple rented the house on Coolfin Street, off the Donegall Road in south Belfast, in 2014.
“The first I heard about it was when the landlord called me and asked if I had put a padlock on the outside of the bedroom door for anyone.
“Of course I hadn’t. I thought it was a very funny question. She told me that the police had been there and that someone was being held in the bedroom.”
He added: “They were definitely keeping somebody captive up in that room. The door was padlocked, but the door was so cheap that whoever was being held had been able to kick through it.
“I remember there were copious packs of folic acid in the bedroom, to help in getting pregnant. My wife used to take them.”
There were lots of clothes in the room for a small woman or girl, he added.
“It looked to me as they were holding a woman captive and trying to get her pregnant. There were buckets in the room that had been used as a toilet, he said.
Up until then, callers to the house had to phone a third party before gaining access. The electricity meter had been bypassed and the front door locks were changed.
The PSNI said a 43-year-old South East Asian man was “taken into the care of immigration authorities” after they attended a house in the street as part of a drugs raid which saw three men charged in March 2014. The PSNI said it did not recognise the scenario described by Mr Morrison.
But Mr Morrison said there had been no sign or smell of drugs or any related equipment in the house.
Chinese–American Pastor Bob Fu, of international legal organisation ‘China Aid’, said it was well known for Snakehead gangs in China to keep a young woman captive and get her pregnant.
“She will be much easier to control for purposes of prostitution,” he said. “It makes it more difficult for her to make a sudden escape, she becomes economically dependent on the gang.”
The gang will allow her a small allowance to feed her child and will issue threats against her baby, rather than against her, to dissuade her from trying to escape, he added.