S.F. massage parlor ordered to close

The City has ordered a massage parlor to shut down after an undercover police sting allegedly found the business was acting as a front for prostitution in the past seven years.

From 1999 and 2006, police say, masseuses working at Lee’s Oriental Massage at 1284 Mission St. offered undercover San Francisco police officers sex in return for money, in some cases $120 or $160.

The massage parlor was also illegally operating past its midnight curfew, employing unlicensed masseuses and using a number of hiding places to evade police, such as “false walls,” according to police.

The permit for the massage parlor was revoked by The City in a administrative hearing, and the establishment was ordered to shut down Friday. It was the first hearing of its kind following last year’s federal investigation into human trafficking, which resulted in a raid of 10 city massage parlors.

As part of the raid, two women were indicted for allegedly participating in a human trafficking ring that brought Korean women to San Francisco and forced them into prostitution. Last Friday, the two women pleaded guilty to operating brothels and employing undocumented immigrant women.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said revoking the Mission Street massage parlor’s permit sends the message that “sexual exploitation will not be tolerated.”

Attorney Adam Slote, representing massage parlor owner Arthur Lee, emphasized that Lee was not charged in the federal case alleging human trafficking and that Lee was not aware prostitution was taking place at his business.

As recently as February, police say, officers were allegedly propositioned for sex at the massage parlor, and they also found three unlicensed masseuses “concealed in a hiding place under the front stairway.”

Slote said, “[Arthur] Lee’s former manager permitted masseuses to work without licenses, and three of these unlicensed masseuses hid in a storage area during the investigation.” Slote said the hiding place has since been filled in.

“In view of the fact that this is Lee’s first [hearing] and that there are only two violations since 2001, a fine is the appropriate penalty,” Slote said, adding that he may appeal the decision.

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

Most Read