A 28-year-old man was arrested early this month on suspicion of operating as the intermediary between individual customers and more than 80 brothels in Taipei and New Taipei City through the popular social-media platform Line.

The man, a suspected drug dealer, had been the subject of a police investigation, which allegedly found that he also ran a 24-hour call center lining up male customers with 86 brothels, the China Times reported.

At 6pm on September 3, police raided a residential unit in Luzhou district of New Taipei City, where the suspected ringleader and three accomplices were allegedly in the discussions with more than 10 customers, confirming details on the requested brothels and the charges.

Police say they confiscated six computers and a trading book as evidence.

A preliminary investigation suggested that each brothel would pay a NT$500 (US$16) commission per successful transaction. It is estimated that the call center would make at least 30 deals per day on average, meaning the operation was earning about NT$500,000 per month.

Police said the brothels would send catalogues of their prostitutes to the ringleader, who then sent the details to customers via Line.

Local and foreign women, including from Poland, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and mainland China, allegedly charged between NT$1,800 and NT$20,000 per session.