Taiwanese cops nab 82-year-old prostitute

Taipei, Taiwan - An 82-year-old prostitute nicknamed "Grandma" was freed on Friday after being caught soliciting a client on the street.

Police are trying to help get her out of the business.

The woman, whom police identified only by the surname Chiu, was arrested on Thursday when she took a 52-year-old man to her apartment in a shabby red-light district of the capital Taipei, police said.

Police say she probably is the oldest prostitute in Taipei. "Grandma" has been arrested before, but went right back to work, staying in business by charging customers as little as 300 Taiwan dollars (about R70) police said.

Younger prostitutes charge 10 or 20 times as much.

Prostitution is illegal in Taiwan, but penalties are light, usually one or two days of detention.

Chiu appeared in good physical shape and with light make-up looked like a 70-year-old, police officer Chen Tien-you said.

Chiu went into the business about 40 years ago, after a man she had lived with for two decades died, Chen said.

Chiu has said her monthly welfare pay of about R7 000 was inadequate, but police raised some money and asked social workers to find her a cheaper or free place to live, Chen said. - Sapa-AP


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