This is an interview between Senior Constable O’Reilly and Miss Zhang, a Chinese-speaking woman at St Kilda Police Station. Zhang has been arrested and charged with street prostitution.
Listen to Dialogue
O’Reilly: This is a taped interview between Senior Constable Tom O’Reilly and Miss Xingyu Zhang at Victoria Police, St Kilda station. The time is 21:22, Saturday 2 December 2012. OK interpreter? Could you translate that first for me please?
Now Miss Zhang can you please confirm for us your name and how it’s spelt? I’ll also need you to state your residential address.
Zhang: 噢，我姓张Z-H-A-N-G，叫幸妤，X-I-N-G Y-U 。我住在Footscray，Church街，12号，251号公寓 。[Yes, my last name is Zhang, Z-H-A-N-G, my given name is Xingyu, X-I-N-G Y-U. I live at Unit 251, 12 Church Street, Footscray.]
O’Reilly: Do you concur that there are only four people present in this interview room – myself Constable O’Reilly, yourself, your lawyer Mr Wang and the interpreter?
O’Reilly: Miss Zhang, when and where were you born?
Zhang: 我一九七九年三月五日在中国新疆省的乌鲁木齐市出生。[I was born 5 March 1979 in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China.]
O’Reilly: And are you under the influence of a drug or alcohol at present?
Zhang: 您干嘛这么严肃呢。不，我不吸毒也不喝酒。我这辈子还没喝醉过。您今晚要不要和我去喝一杯？[Why are you acting so seriously? No. I don’t do drugs or drink alcohol. I’ve never been drunk my whole life. You wanna go out with me tonight for a drink?]
O’Reilly: Miss Zhang, this is no laughing matter. You’ve been charged with a serious criminal offence. I hope you understand that.
I’ll give you your rights straight up just so that we’re perfectly clear. First, you have the right to remain silent. That means that you do not have to say anything, unless you wish to do so. Second, the recording of this conversation may later be used in evidence in court if we ever get that far. Do you understand that?
Zhang: 好啦，我知道。[OK, I got it.]
O’Reilly: OK. In a moment I will be asking you some questions related to the offense you have been charged with – street prostitution. Do you have anything you’d like to say before we discuss this matter?
Zhang: 我之前就说过了，这一切都只是个误会。我是清白的。我在澳洲或中国根本没有犯罪纪录，我这一生中根本没有做过什么见不得人的事。卖淫这么丢脸的事我怎么可能会做。[Like I said before, this whole thing is a misunderstanding. I’m innocent. I don’t have any criminal record in Australia or China. I’ve never done anything shady my whole life. I could never do anything as shameful as prostitution.]
O’Reilly: Miss Zhang, I’m going to be honest with you. We more or less caught you red-handed. Things would be a lot easier for you if you started to tell the truth.
Zhang: 啊？我根本不懂您在说什么。[Ah? I don’t know what you’re talking about.]
O’Reilly: Miss Zhang, we’ve been watching Reservoir Street every weekend for the past three weeks. You have been present each and every time. Each time we have filmed you approaching a number of different cars, all with male drivers. Each time you talk to them and, eventually, you get in one of the cars and drive off.
Zhang: 你一直在跟踪我吗？这太不像话了。我就在Reservoir街工作，和男司机说话只为了搭同事的便车回家而已。我这么穷根本付不起车费，也只能搭顺风车了。[You’ve been stalking me? This is outrageous. Reservoir Street is where my work is located. I talked to those male drivers so I could get a lift home, that’s all. I’m so poor I can’t afford to drive and have to hitchhike.]
O’Reilly: All three nights we filmed you you were wearing revealing clothing. One night you wore a mini-skirt. Another, tight jeans, leather boots and a tank top. Now, tell me, why would you wear such clothing at night during winter?
Zhang: 穿什么衣服是我的自由，您管得着么? 下班后我通常和男同事们去酒吧喝酒。难道这也算犯罪啊? 我亲爱的长官，这里可不是中国。我爱穿什么就穿什么。[I’m free to wear whatever I want, what’s it to you? After I get off work I usually go out with my mates for a drink at the pub. Is that a crime? Dear sir, this is not China. I can wear whatever I feel like.]
O’Reilly: Let me tell you, missy, according to the Prostitution Control Act 1994, street sex work is illegal in Victoria. People are not allowed to loiter in public places for the purpose of soliciting sex work. This law is much the same all over Australia. Sex workers can only practice in registered brothels.
Zhang: 那又怎么样？跟我没有关系啊。[So what? That’s got nothing to do with me.]
O’Reilly: You do realise, Miss Zhang, that the penalty in your case, as a first offender, would be one month’s imprisonment? Not a long time in jail, sure, but it would also give you a criminal record. This could put your whole future in Australia in jeopardy.
Zhang: 您别以为您吓得了我。律师跟我说您手上根本没有任何确实证据。您到底想怎么样？[Don’t think you can scare me. The lawyer told me that you don’t have any concrete evidence. So what do you say to that?]
O’Reilly: Our investigation has only just begun. But we already know enough to have charged you.
Zhang: 你懂个屁啊。[You don’t know shit.]
O’Reilly: Watch your language, Miss Zhang. We have already spoken to the gentleman you met with tonight. A Mr Jeremy Brown. He has admitted that, after he picked you up, both of you went to the park on Gardenvale Street and he paid you to have sex with him.
Zhang: 我才不相信这种鬼话呢。您还真会编故事。说到Jeremy…哼，他只是我一个同事。我跟他不是很熟悉啊。[I don’t believe this rubbish. You must be making this up. Jeremy... He’s just a coworker. I don’t even know him that well.]
O’Reilly: Then why do you think he would confess to paying for sex from you?
Zhang: 我怎么知道呢？[How would I know?]
O’Reilly: OK. Take me through what you did with him tonight then.
Zhang: 好吧，他的确载我去了公园。但是我们只是去海滩走走看看烟火罢了。半个小时之后我们走回去停车的地方然后我就看见您们警车停在那了。不论您怎么想，千万别误会，我们只聊了点工作中的事 。[OK. We did drive to the park, but we only went there to go for a walk near the beach and enjoy the fireworks that were on. After about half an hour we walked back to the car park and that’s when I saw your police car pull up. Whatever you do, don’t get the wrong idea. We were only talking about some stuff about work.]
O’Reilly: All right. Tell me, then, when did you arrive in Australia and for what purpose?
Zhang: 我上个月才跑来这里念书的。因为拆迁的原因所以家里突然多了一笔钱的补偿，才能让我到澳洲来。[I came here just last month to study. I could only get to Australia because my family’s house was demolished and relocated so we suddenly received some money as compensation.]
O’Reilly: And what do you study?
Zhang: 我在TAFE念助产士专业。[I’m studying midwifery at TAFE.]
O’Reilly: And how are you paying for your tuition fees?
Zhang: 當然是我自己付阿。我平常還在花店打工。 [I pay for them myself of course. I work part-time at a flower shop.]
O’Reilly: I see. How much do they pay you per hour? And how many shifts do you get per week, on average?
Zhang: 他们给我的薪水不多，一个小时才8澳币。而且每周只能工作三天。[The wages they give me are not very high, only $8 an hour. And they usually only give me three days of shifts each week.]
O’Reilly: Well, if your pay is so low, then how do you explain the envelope we found on your person which contained $500 in cash, and the numerous other envelopes full of cash we found when we searched your car tonight?
Zhang: 那些现金是我预领的薪水和我省了很久的钱。你知道拎着LV的手提包上街是我长久以来的梦想。我本来明天打算出去买一个呢。[Those were cash advances from my work and money I had been saving up for a long time. You know it is my dream one day to go shopping with a Louis Vuitton handbag. I was planning to go out tomorrow to buy one.]
O’Reilly: Well I’m sorry Miss Zhang but I’m not convinced. Something about your story just doesn’t add up. Anyway, we’ll take a break now and resume questioning at 11 o’clock.