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Cary man facing charges in alleged Raleigh prostitution ring

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Cary man embroiled in prostitution investigation.

An investigation into an alleged prostitution ring in Raleigh landed a prominent Cary man in jail.

Hong Li appeared before a judge this week on charges that stemmed from a prostitution investigation.

Those involved in the investigation are remaining tight-lipped, because it's still going on. However, a prosecutor revealed some information about the case in court during Li's appearance.

Li is a Chinese national, but his attorney told the judge the 55-year-old has lived in the area for 14 years and owns a home in Cary where he lives with his wife.

According to property records, the home has a value of nearly a half a million dollars.

Li, who has a PhD, was arrested this week and charged with promoting prostitution and felony conspiracy.

The prosecutor told the judge that Raleigh police started the prostitution investigation in December.

He said a phone number that led to an alleged prostitute was linked to Li and a co-defendant - Junjun Chen. She appears to have just recently moved to the area.

Li's bond was set high at $1 million. The prosecutor said that was because there was concern he would leave the country.

"This defendant, I believe, works for the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences - works for the federal government - and I believe has several means to be able to flee," prosecutor Boz Zellinger said. "There is some concern from the Raleigh Police Department that he is a flight risk."

The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences is headquartered in Research Triangle Park.

Officials there would not immediately confirm whether Li works there or - if so - what he does.

On Thursday, the judge made Li surrender his passport, but agreed to lower his bond to $500,000.

He has since been released from jail.

Li told ABC11 after his release that the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that he was trying to help the co-defendant, who he referred to as a friend.

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