A woman has been ordered to pay over £1.3m after she was convicted of running brothels in Barnet and Harrow among 12 across London.

Li Ying, 47, of Fortune Green Road, West Hampstead was found to have made £1,338,891 from brothels in Camden, Wandsworth, Barnet, Harrow, Brent, Ealing and in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire over six years.

At Southwark Crown Court yesterday she was ordered to hand over the money within six months or face five years in jail.

Police investigating the use of safe depositories were first alerted to Ying's crimes in June 2008 when they found £150,000 of the money in cash in a safe deposit box at the Hampstead Safe Depository in Finchley Road, NW3.

They also found a false passport for Ying during the search warrant.

Five days later, she voluntarily surrendered herself to Belgravia police station to answer questions and was arrested.

Ying stated the money was hers but provided no explanation for where it had come from and was released on police bail.

But further investigation revealed she was behind a network of brothels.

A parallel money laundering investigation carried out by the Specialist and Economic Crime Command under the Proceeds of Crime Act then led to the freezing of £96,000 in a bank account owned by Ying, and identified that a further £220,000 had been transferred to a bank account abroad over the last five years.

Ying was rearrested and charged in April 2009. Financial investigators found that before being rearrested, Ying attempted to conceal nearly half a million pounds from police by withdrawing it in cash or transferring it to China.

Ying was found guilty of controlling prostitution, concealing criminal property and three counts of money laundering at Southwark Crown Court in July 2011. She was jailed for five years.

Yesterday, Ying was told she must pay a confiscation order for the full £1,338,891 she made within six months. If she fails to do so, she must serve an additional five years in prison.

Ying has also been made subject to a financial reporting order to prevent her making any more money through crime.