Investigation reveals up to 100 illegal sex workers operating throughout Wollongong

Posted on 01/18/2019

OPERATING ILLEGALLY: Up to 100 sex workers have been operating illegally in Wollongong on any given weekend in January. A legal brothel owner wants authorities to act quickly to resolve the issue.In one NSWtown, brothel operators are calling on authorities to deal with a “new shady player” and an onslaught of illegal sex workers.

Losing business is a concern, but brothel owners aren’t happy the “unknown boss” is flouting the rules so brazenly.

Mr M (* not real name), who owns two legal brothels in Wollongong, was particularly “incensed”.

MANY CHOICES: Illegal sex workers in Wollongong can be found easily on two well-known sex classifieds websites, such as the one above.

So in early January he hired a private investigator to do some digging.

Mr M’s worst fears were confirmed when it was uncovered that up to 100 sex workers were operating illegally in Wollongong on any given weekend.

He was also “shocked” to learn unprotected sex was part of the services offered by some of these women.

Mr M, who has worked in the sex industry for 20 years,is also convinced that the majority of illegal sex workers are from China and are here on tourist visas.

This is the text message the private investigator sent to the illegal sex workers.

“We are licensed and operating in an industrial area and stringently covered by the council bylaws,” Mr M said.

“Whatever the council wants us to do, whatever the laws say, we do…but these locusts are doing what they want and it’s not right.”

Mr Mbecame suspicious something was not quite right early in 2018.

Read more: The Wollongong brothels hidden in plain sight

At first he put it down to the holiday period, thinking it was “family time”.

“I wasn’t too concerned because the industry has its ups and downs,” he said.

“But then some strange things started to happen. The men that did come in were asking some funny questions…they wanted unprotected sex.

“We’ve never had an experience like that before because Wollongong people are usually very nice and respecting the ladies as well.

“I knew something was wrong.”

The private investigator confirmed Mr M’s suspicions and uncovered that sex workers were advertising their services on two well known sex classifieds websites.

Once contacted, women sent prospective clients a phone message with details of where to meet –usually in hotels, motels and apartmentsin Wollongong.

Mr MMercury questions, a Wollongong City Council spokesperson said “Council does from time to time receive complaints about alleged illegal brothels in the Local Government Area.All complaints and allegations are investigated by Regulation and Enforcement officers in accordance with Council’s Enforcement Policy.”

Mr M implored authorities to act before Wollongong became “flooded with unhealthy people”.

Clinical Associate Professor Dr Katherine Brown said chlamydia was the most common STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) in .

As the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District ambulatory and primary health care medical director, Dr Brown’s main role is in sexual health.

“We are very interested in sex workers as a population and one of our target groups to try and get testing to make sure that they are safe,” the sexual health and forensic physician said.

“Overall for n-born workers, that’s the case.There’s quite low rates of STI’sin that population.”

Dr Brown said the problem with the overseas worker was that they only stay in a particular city for a short time.

“They’re never here long enough for us to run a [test] program.”

Women can get help by visiting the Sexual Health Info Link or calling 1800 451 624.

Rules for Wollongong brothelsThere are 11 legal brothels with development consent within or in close proximity to the Wollongong CBDBrothels are subjected to at least one inspection a year which are carried out by two Environmental Health Officers.The Illawarra Mercury

Aussies go from holiday, hangover to rehab

Posted on 01/18/2019

Overindulging over the summer break has left many ns looking for help, experts say.First there was the holiday, then came the hangover. Now? It’s rehab season.

A spike in ns self medicating and over indulging during the summer holidays has left many seeking rehabilitation services, according to addictions experts.

While the reasons for lapses and relapses vary greatly, the emotional strain of Christmas holidays and the booze-filled festivities of New Year’s Day, Day and all the parties in between take a toll.

“It’s really going to ramp up now,” says CEO of Melbourne’s DayHab clinic Nick Hall.

“People present for treatment when some sort of crisis happens – the holiday period, especially Christmas, is a difficult time for a lot of people.

“It’s emotional, it’s about family and many struggle because there’s relationship issues.”

Himself a counsellor of 16 years, Dr Hall says a reliance on alcohol or other substances is a symptom of a bigger problem – people not coping with emotions.

Nearly 20 per cent of ns exceed the lifetime risk guideline by consuming more than two standard drinks a day on average, while alcohol remains the principal drug that leads to treatment (32 per cent), according to the n Institute of Health and Welfare.

Over summer, the mixture of family issues, financial stress and parties becomes a problematic cocktail that leads too many people to pick up drink after drink, Dr Hall says.

“Imagine being in the madness and trying to hold all your shit together,” he says.

It’s exactly this sentiment that drives people in droves to Sydney-based addictions counsellor Chantale Ishac, who says the post-holiday period marks a peak in referrals from existing and new clients.

“When kids get back to school and we get back to our careers … instead of feeling refreshed to start the work year, people feel they are returning from a war zone,” says the CEO of Addiction Intervention Services.

The addictions expert urges people to stop being in denial and ask themselves a few important questions, including whether they stick to the amount they promise themselves and whether their actions are damaging their mental health, finances, career or relationships.

Although people turn to many different “crutches” to self medicate, such as illicit drugs, gambling and prescription medication, Ms Ishac says alcohol dependency can go unnoticed because of the nation’s drinking culture and societal normalisation.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the leading contributor to illness and death for ns aged up to 44.

Between 2011 and 2016, December has recorded the highest number of alcohol-related presentations to emergency departments across 86 units in NSW, according to HealthStats data.

St Vincent’s Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service specialist Dr Craig Rodgers says problems associated with alcohol such as withdrawal seizures are not publicised enough – or people just don’t want to hear them.

“Ice is generally well publicised as the scourge of the nation,” he told AAP.

“But there’s much more data saying that alcohol is likely to be associated with domestic violence and with road accidents.

Dr Rodgers urges consumers to watch how much they drink, especially because many can’t identify a standard drink.

“Most people think a standard drink is a schooner but it’s a mini and a glass of wine poured at home is probably three standard drinks.”

Truck driver involved in fatal crash near Dubbo charged by police

Posted on 01/18/2019

Truck driver involved in fatal crash near Dubbo charged by police The scene of last month’s horrific accident near Dubbo that claimed two lives.

The prime mover involved in the seven-vehicle crash is towed away. Photo: TNV

The scene of the crash on the Newell Highway about 20 kilometres north of Dubbo Photo: Belinda Soole

TweetFacebookA 50-year-old truck driver will front court in Sydney on Saturday after being charged in relation to the fatal crash near Dubbo last month that claimed the lives of two people.

About 12.30pm on Tuesday 16 January 2018, emergency services were called to the Newell Highway north of Dubbo and found a seven-vehicle crash which involved two trucks, four sedans and a utility.

RELATED:’Wrong place at wrong time’: Families grieve for young couple killed in crash

Police will allege a south-bound semi-trailer hit the other vehicles from behind while they were stopped at roadworks.

A 19-year-old woman, identified as Hannah Ferguson, and her 21-year-old boyfriend Reagen Skinner,died at the scene.

An 18-year-old man in another car suffered burns and was taken to Concord Hospital for treatment.

In a third car were the driver, a 43-year-old woman who suffered a broken arm, and two passengers, a 52-year-old woman and 25-year-old man who suffered minor injuries. They were taken to Dubbo Base Hospital.

In a fourth car were the driver, a 26-year-old woman who suffered facial injuries and was taken to Dubbo Hospital, a 24-year-woman who was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital with a suspected spinal injury, a two-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man who were taken to Dubbo Base Hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of a utility, a 39-year-old man, and the driver of a B-double, a 27-year-old man, suffered minor injuries and were taken to Dubbo Base Hospital.

The driver of the semi-trailer, a 50-year-old man, suffered leg fractures and suspected internal injuries and was taken to Liverpool Hospital.

About 5pm on Friday, officers attended Liverpool Hospital and arrested a 50-year-old man when he was discharged from hospital.

He was taken to Liverpool Police Station and charged with several offences by investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit, including:

– Dangerous driving occasioning death (x2);

– Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm (x3);

– Negligent driving occasioning death (x2); and

– Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm (x3).

The man was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday, and also had his driving privileges in NSW suspended.

William, Kate hit ski slopes as tour ends

Posted on 01/18/2019

Prince William and Kate visited the Holmenkollen Ski Arena as they wound up their Norwegian tour.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have joined Norwegian children in a winter wonderland as their Scandinavian tour came to an end.

William and Kate, dressed for the freezing conditions in bobble hats and padded coats, watched as tiny schoolchildren showed off their skiing skills at Holmenkollen, the snowy hills over looking Oslo.

The four- to six-year-olds displayed their skiing abilities, sliding through hoops, down slopes and making sharp turns in the snow as their teachers put them through their paces.

The duke and duchess also joined the youngsters as they cooked sausages over an open fire.

Earlier at the nearby Holmenkollen ski jump, William and Kate met well-wishers as they walked into the museum of the famous sporting venue where brave jumpers hurtle down the slope.

One visitor asked the duke if he was going to have a go at the event and he laughed as he replied: “No, no, leave it to the professionals.”

Inside the museum they were shown an exhibit about the Roald Amundsen Expedition to the South Pole and were reminded that the Norwegians beat their British rivals in the race to reach the pole first.

After the British and Norwegian royal couples laughed, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who was with Crown Prince Haakon, told the Duke “I’m sorry,” and he replied “No, no, quite right.”

The small attraction is built into the hill, underneath the ski jump itself and opened in 1923.

It is thought to be the world’s oldest museum devoted to skiing and attempts to tell 4000 years of “exciting ski history” through exhibitions.

Among the items on show were fur-lined gloves and shoes, cooking pots, tin cans, cutlery, and a camera, as well as skis, poles, a sled, and a stuffed dog.

At the top of the ski jump William and Kate took in breathtaking views and watched sportsmen take on the challenge.

Standing on a balcony at the start house more than 60 metres above the ground, they watched Norwegian ski jumper Anniken Mork race down the track at 56mph before taking a leap of faith towards the ground and landing gracefully near the bottom of the course.

Kate, meanwhile, was in a playful mood and made a snowball and then threw it at William. “It’s too cold for snowballs,” he said, smiling as the Norwegian royals stood with them.

The duchess was certain that the couple’s children Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, two, would have delighted in the stunning surroundings.

Costa gets more time in the garden

Posted on 12/17/2018

Gardening host Costa Georgiadis has returned with a longer show in a new timeslot.Costa Georgiadis is returning to screens across the country in a new, hour-long version of Gardening .

Expanded from its previous half-hour format, Georgiadis is excited by what the longer show allows him to do.

“It gives us that chance to dive a little bit deeper into the storytelling but it also gives us a chance to have a regular segment like ‘what to do in your part of the country’,” he said.

“That’s a big thing for everyone gardening because someone in Brisbane isn’t planting or operating the same method that someone in Hobart is operating.”

There’s a new timeslot too, from a Saturday evening to Friday at 7.30pm.

Georgiadis hopes this will bring new viewers, although he’s already starting to see a younger crowd become hooked.

“It has traditionally had an older demographic but where we’re really working hard and getting headway is through social media, through the internet and through our website,” he said.

“The Gardening website is the most visited website in the ABC and over the last five years we’ve been building Facebook, Instagram and hooking in this younger audience.

“This year we plan to continue to cut our stories and put them out into social media and on YouTube and iView and that way this younger audience who probably don’t even own a television are getting into succulents and bonsai and natives and growing their own food.”

A huge part of the fresh engagement, Georgiadis says, has been the different food and lifestyle movements people are embracing.

“They have access to more information and they’re concerned about where their food is coming from and what’s in it.

“Our real mission is to say, ‘You don’t need a massive garden, you can do it on a rooftop or a balcony or a courtyard or go to a community garden’.”

*Gardening airs on Friday at 7.30pm (AEDT) on ABC

Perth dump 36ers to reclaim second spot

Posted on 12/17/2018

Wildcats and 36ers players confront each other in an ugly brawl during the match at Perth Arena.The NBL finals must be getting close.

The Perth Wildcats rediscovered their best form to demolish the Adelaide 36ers 111-90 in a fiery contest at the Perth Arena on Friday night that ended in a brawl, including both benches.

Some shoddy treatment by 36ers Brendan Teys on Wildcats development player Lochlan Cummings, when he made his first NBL basket with less than a second left on the clock, was not well received.

When the smoke cleared, Cats Lucas Walker and Dexter Kernich-Drew, plus Teys and his teammate Shannon Shorter, were ejected from the game.

After trailing by one point in a high-scoring opening half, the Cats dominated the second to run away with an incredible 21-point win.

They kept Adelaide to just nine points in the third term to go into the last with a 17-point lead.

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said he knew his side was in with a chance when they were so close at half-time.

“To come in one points down at the half was pretty darn good considering how many points we gave them,” he said.

“We knew if we stayed together we’d be in with a good show.

“That third quarter was some of the best defence I think we’ve played. To hold a team like that nine points, it certainly changed the game, especially being down 12 points early.”

Concerns that the reigning champions had dropped away are now gone after consecutive victories over top four teams.They beat New Zealand last weekend.

A win in the return bout against the 36ers in Adelaide on Sunday would go a long way to them earning the home-court advantage in the first round of the finals.

After climbing to second on the ladder on the back of seven straight wins, the 36ers now drop to third after consecutive losses.

Despite leading 61-60 at half-time, 36ers coach Joey Wright said he knew they were in trouble giving up that many points to the home side.

“You can’t give up 60 points on the road and expect to win – that’s not going to happen,” he said.

“Perth is notorious for third term scores. It’s about 1130pm at home for us in the third quarter and we fell asleep.

“I have been coaching down here for 15 years. If you’re not ready for the third quarter, you’re in trouble.”

Despite a slow start Adelaide had gained full momentum by quarter-time and with Mitch Creek dropping nine points, led by eight.

If not for some sharp shooting by Perth’s Jesse Wagstaff in the second, Adelaide would have led by more than one point at the main break.

He dropped 11 points for the quarter and finished with a game-high 25, equalled by Bryce Cotton.

What worked for the 36ers in the opening half didn’t in the second. They had eight assists in the first quarter and finished the game with 10.

Nathan Sobey top-scored for Adelaide with 18 points. While Shorter, who has averaged 16.75 points over the past eight games, was kept to just nine, as was Daniel Johnson.

Perth also dominated the boards, 40-33, with Jean-Pierre Tokoto pulling in 10 rebounds in a double-double performance.

Robot makes coffee at new cafe in Tokyo

Posted on 12/17/2018

Robot barista “Sawyer” will make you a coffee and entertain you as well in Henn-na Cafe in Tokyo.Japan has a new robot cafe where customers can enjoy coffee brewed and served by a robot barista.

The robot named Sawyer debuted this week at Henn-na Cafe in Tokyo’s downtown business and shopping district of Shibuya. The shop’s name in Japanese means “strange cafe”.

The single-armed robot scans a ticket purchased from a vending machine and greets the customer.

“Would you care for a delicious coffee?” the barista, with a screen showing a pair of cartoon eyes, asks in a flat tone. “I can make one better than human beings around here.”

It grinds the coffee beans, fills a filter and pours hot water over a paper cup for up to five people at once. A cup of brewed coffee costs 320 yen ($A3.65) and takes a few minutes.

Sawyer can also operate an automated machine for six other hot drinks including cappuccino, hot chocolate and green tea latte.

Customers, many of them young men, took photos with their smartphones while they waited in line.

The cafe operator, travel agency H.I.S. Co, says robots can increase productivity while also entertaining customers.

“An essential point is to increase productivity,” said Masataka Tamaki, general manager of corporate planning at H.I.S. He said only one person needs to oversee the robot cafe, compared to several people needed at a regular coffee shop, so it can serve better quality coffee at a reasonable price.

Tamaki says it’s not just about efficiency. “We want the robot to entertain customers so it’s not like buying coffee at a vending machine,” he said.

Takeshi Yamamoto, a 68-year-old restaurant employee who works in the neighbourhood, said his first experience with the robot cafe was very enjoyable and his robot-made coffee was delicious.

“It’s quite rich, and tastes very good,” Yamamoto said, as he took a sip. “You can get machine-made coffee at convenience stores, too, and it’s actually good. But here, I had great fun.”

Trump says Russia probe memo proves bias

Posted on 12/17/2018

US President Donald Trump is accusing the FBI of politicising a Republican memo on the Russia probe.The congressman who pushed for the release of a classified memo some Republicans claim shows an abuse of FBI surveillance says there’s “no evidence of collusion” between US President Donald Trump and Russia.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told Fox News on Friday Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray “have work to do”.

But he didn’t say if they would be fired.

Trump on Friday, despite opposition from the FBI and the Department of Justice, declassified a Republican-drafted memo which alleges the probe into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia is a product of political bias against Trump.

Democrats say the four-page memo mischaracterises highly sensitive classified information and is intended to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia matter launched in May 2017, which grew from an earlier FBI probe.

Two White House officials on Friday said Trump was not considering firing Rosenstein, although Trump declined to express confidence in the Justice Department’s second-in-command who had objected to the memo’s release.

Rosenstein is overseeing the Mueller probe and has been a growing target for the president’s frustration as the investigation continues.

Vice President Mike Pence gave no hint of the controversy while campaigning in Pennsylvania, urging supporters to “have faith” in Trump.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he’ll make sure Congress’ concerns are examined about the FBI investigation into possible co-operation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Sessions says he will “forward to appropriate DOJ components all information I receive from Congress regarding this”.

Sessions did not elaborate but the Justice Department’s inspector general is tasked with investigating employee misconduct.

Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, citing his own ties to Trump’s campaign.

Former FBI Director James Comey weighed in and said the memo doesn’t add up to much.

Comey asks on Twitter, “That’s it?”

He calls the memo “dishonest and misleading” and not worth the damage it’s done to public trust in US intelligence agencies.

Trump fired Comey last May with the White House initially saying it was due to his handling of the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email. But Trump later indicated it was about the FBI’s Russia probe.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner says he’s read the classified documents that formed the basis of the memo and says “they simply do not support its conclusions”.

The memo contends that the FBI relied excessively on an ex-British spy whose opposition research was funded by Democrats. Yet it also says the investigation actually began several months earlier.

The spy admitted to having strong anti-Trump sentiments but he was also a “longtime FBI source” with a credible track record.

Warner backs T20 tri-series for 2020 prep

Posted on 12/17/2018

Stand-in captain David Warner wants to see involved in more T20 tri-series tournaments.David Warner wants ‘s World Twenty20 assault to be based around mini-tournaments like the tri-series against England and New Zealand as they aim to climb the world rankings.

The World T20 is the one trophy that alludes , with their best chance to add to the one solitary finals appearance coming in the home tournament in 2020.

This summer’s tri-series against England and New Zealand is the first of its kind for , and Cricket are in talks about turning this year’s Test series in Zimbabwe into a similar Twenty20 tournament with the hosts and Pakistan.

However, there are no such similar tri-series planned for next summer as hosts South Africa in bilateral ODI and T20 series along with India and Sri Lanka in Tests.

But Warner said it’s something he’d like to play more as the Aussies ramp up their preparations.

“Definitely moving forward I think it’s a great thing,” Warner, who will captain the series, said.

“It’s a great concept as it is at the moment rather than just playing the one-off game after the back end of a summer.

“You’re not just playing the one team and it’s the mini tournament and it gets you in tournament mode focus as well, which is great for the game too.”

‘s hopes of T20 growth have been hurt by a cluttered schedule and the fact the majority of their top-line stars play across all three formats of the game.

This summer’s series is the second summer in the row matches have clashed with an overseas Test tour, while have played less T20 internationals than most other major cricketing nations.

It’s all culminated in team having slipped to a lowly seventh on the ICC world rankings.

“It doesn’t sit well with us at all but at the end of the day we’ve got to keep improving,” Warner said.

“We’ve probably said it for the last 12-24 months about improving our overall assessment of how we play this format.

“Sometimes we probably either fall in a heap with our batting or we don’t start well with the ball.”

However, Warner had hopes of that changing ahead of the home tournament.

“Moving forward, definitely leading into a World Cup here at home I think there’s scheduled to be more T20 internationals,” he said.

“And not just on the back end of series, I think there’s going to be specific times when then the game is going to be played. We definitely take it 100 per cent serious.”

Dad says he’s no hero after Nassar lunge

Posted on 12/17/2018

Randall Margraves, the father of three victims, has tried to attack Larry Nassar in court.A father who tried to attack disgraced US sports doctor Larry Nassar in a Michigan courtroom has publicly apologised again, insists he’s “no hero” and says he’s remorseful and embarrassed by his actions.

Randall Margraves lunged at the doctor after hearing two of his daughters tell the court about their sexual abuse at the hands of Nassar. A third daughter also says she was abused by the doctor.

Margraves was tackled by sheriff’s deputies after lunging at the doctor and says he lost control when it appeared that Nassar was shaking his head during his daughters’ statements.

Margraves had asked the judge for “five minutes in a locked room with this demon”.

The request was denied by Judge Janice Cunningham and it was at this point Margraves launched himself at Nassar.

Morgan Margraves says her father was hearing some details for the first time. She says he reacted “like most fathers would have done, and probably wanted to do, in a situation like this.”

Judge Cunningham says there was “no way” she will punish Margraves for the attempted court attack due to the crimes committed by Nassar and the anguish felt by the families.

But she said it was worst to “combat assault with assault”.

Nassar must listen to scores of victims before he’s sentenced next week for sexual assault. He’s admitted molesting young gymnasts. He’s already been sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in another county.

Nassar’s case has set off investigations into protection for athletes at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University in Lansing, which also employed Nassar. The university’s athletic director Mark Hollis on Friday announced his resignation.

Among his over 265 victims are US Olympic medallists McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.