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Massage parlours get rubbed out

TRENTON, Ont. (10/01/12) - Constable Dan Wilton of the Quinte West OPP waits outside the Sunny Health Spa in Downtown Trenton during a police raid on Tuesday, Jan. 10th. Information gathered by investigators in November led to sweeping arrests against the owners of both the Silver Star Studio on Elgin Street and the Sunny Health Spa in Market Square. Photo by Mark Tarnovetsky.

By Mark Tarnovetsky

Two separate massage parlours, the Silver Star Studio on Elgin Street and the Sunny Health Spa in Market Square, were shut down after a massive police crackdown in Downtown Trenton Jan. 10.

Investigators acquired information regarding illicit sexual transactions being conducted at the premises in November leading up to the sweeping arrests, Sgt. Kristine Rae of the Quinte West OPP confirms.

The warrants were executed by the Quinte West OPP, the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, the Provincial Organized Crime Enforcement Team and the Toronto Police Service.

Two women, Lihua Ai and Meifong Zhou, both 50 years old, were charged with keeping a bawdy house. A third woman, Song Qu, 43, was charged with being “an inmate of a common bawdy house.”

Police seized approximately $4,500 in cash, computer equipment, electronics and other related equipment.

All three of the accused have since been released and are scheduled for a court appearance on March 1.

Florence Legalley, who has worked at the Rapid Cash next door to the Sunny Health Spa for the past three years, said she did not notice anything suspicious.

“It was quiet, they pay their rent.” Despite hearing rumors about illicit behavior, Legalley kept a healthy relationship with her neighbour.

In 2007 the municipality of Quinte West passed a bylaw to regulate massage parlours strictly.  Under the current guidelines, no more than two massage parlours are allowed to operate concurrently. In addition to this, a mandatory licensing fee of $1,500 for owners must be paid, as well as $250 for operators and $100 for each attendant.

Trenton Mayor John Williams has condemned the bawdy houses.

“It’s not something we want in our city.”

Williams focused on the need for a “proper investigation.”

“You gotta have your homework done,” he said.

Williams approved of the business suspensions of both the Silver Star Studio and the Sunny Health Spa, hoping “that’s the way they stay.”