by Keith Hunt
A madam with a passion for designer handbags has been jailed for 15 months for running two brothels in Medway.
Siow Low wept as a judge told her the illicit sex trade had a far-reaching effect on local communities.
"One woman was scared to go out of her front door," added Judge Philip Statman.
Low, 39, was caught running one brothel in Mills Terrace, Chatham, but disappeared while on bail. She then surfaced again to run another brothel in Fort Pitt Street.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the Malaysia-born mother-of-three benefited by almost £60,000, but the only available amount to be seized was £1,730.
Told that Low had a Louis Vuitton handbag, the judge said: "I dread to think how much that cost."
Anna Farley, defending, replied: "We know exactly how much it cost. The price in 2002 was £500."
Low, of Norman Avenue, Wood Green, north London, admitted two offences of keeping a brothel.
Martin Yale, prosecuting, said Low started running the first brothel in 2007, paying cash to advertise "Chatham Massage" in Adscene and other newspapers in the same group.
An undercover police officer telephoned the number given and was told by Low it would cost between £40 and £100 for massage and other sexual services.
The officer went to Mills Terrace, where he was greeted by Low and then shown to a room where a young Oriental woman in her underwear was waiting.
He paid £40 and was told to undress to his underwear. The woman stripped completely.
"Soon after the massage started, he made his excuses and left," said Mr Yale.
Police later raided the brothel and Low was arrested. Bank accounts showed large amounts of money being paid in and taken out.
Low jumped bail in January 2008 and she was not arrested again until the Fort Pitt Street brothel was raided in June that year. It was advertised as Julie’s Massage in newspapers such as the Medway News.
The prosecutor said it was accepted Low was not at the top of the management hierarchy, but she was high up the ladder.
He added she had been served with deportation papers.