Authorities in Taiwan raided the notorious area of Miaoli on Monday evening to crack down on illegal sexual activities, arresting three pimps, five sex workers and four customers for further inquiries.

After complaints from citizens, officers from the Miaoli County Police raided a building in Xishimei housing numerous illegal brothels at about 8pm. Three local men surnamed Liu, Chao and Liao were detained for allegedly controlling sex workers, and arranging clients for them, the Central News Agency reported.

Four Vietnamese women and a local Taiwanese woman, who were found hidden in a small cubicle in each service room, were arrested along with four male Taiwanese customers for soliciting sexual services.

Three of the Vietnamese women, who entered Taiwan on travel visas, were found to have overstayed, while the other Vietnamese woman had breached her condition to stay – she was a migrant worker alleged to have run away from her contracted employer.

Liu admitted to police that he could charge a commission of NT$100 to NT$200 (US$3.25 – $6.50) per service, which usually costs around NT$1,000 or $1,500 (US$32.50 to $48.70).

The Miaoli County Police Bureau is investigating whether any human-trafficking syndicates were involved in running illicit sexual services and coercing foreign women to get into sex work.