The Supreme Court of Palau allowed one of the defendants of a major human trafficking and prostitution case to travel off-island.
Associate Justice Kathleen Salii granted Richard Huang aka Feng-Jui Huang, there a defendant of the Shangri-la human trafficking and prostitution case to travel back to his homeland of the Republic of China-Taiwan.
On January 7, advice 2014, Huang wrote a letter to Judge Salii requesting permission to travel to Taiwan to secure funds to obtain an attorney and a translator. The request was granted and Huang was allowed to travel, however he was ordered to return back to Palau no later than January 28, 2014.
In his request, Huang claims he does not have sufficient funds to secure an attorney and requires a translator for court proceedings. Since the case was filed last year, he claims he has been out of a job and hasn’t been able to support himself. He also reportedly does not trust the attorneys in Palau.
In addition to his troubles finding a lawyer, off-island attorneys who were appointed by the Court declined to represent him. According to documents filed in Court, Huang speaks little English, and since he was named defendant in this case, he has failed to participate as a defendant.
In his latest correspondence to the Court dated on January 28, 2014, Huang requested for an extension of his “vacation” to allow him time to secure a loan with assistance from his family. He claims that with the holidays in Taiwan, namely the end of the year of the Snake, he will not have enough time to process a loan.
During his leave, Huang traveled to Guam from January 22 to the 26th in efforts to locate and secure an attorney. He reportedly met with Guam attorney Randoll Cunliff who gave him a $115,000-dollar estimate to represent him. The cost covers attorney’s fees, travel and other expenses associated with representing him.
He did not confirm in any of his correspondences with the court if he will hire the Guam attorney; however, he has yet to secure funds required to obtain an attorney and a translator.
Huang along with a police officer, a prominent local businessman, and about ten other defendants including his wife Mercilyn Huang, are facing one or more charges of human trafficking, prostitution, money laundering, unlawful wage, work and employee restrictions.
The charges followed an extensive investigation and police raid at the Shangri-la Massage and Parlor, and the DW Motel, which were both managed by Richard Huang.
With his new request for an extension, the court allowed him to remain in Taiwan; however, he was ordered to return back to Palau no later than February 14, 2014.
OTV contacted his wife who expressed that her husband intends to return back to Palau as ordered.
The case is due to begin trial in April this year.