In a sting operation Wednesday, South City police arrested two Korean women who were allegedly running a brothel out of an upscale apartment complex in what police are calling a reflection of a pervasive problem in the biotech capital.
South San Francisco police arrested the women after tracking advertisements allegedly posted by them online. Police said an undercover agent posing as a client booked an appointment and was directed to the apartment, located in a recently built complex near El Camino Real in South City.
In the well-furnished two-bedroom apartment, police said they found two women — a U.S. citizen who was living there and a Korean national with visitor status — as well as an Asian man who was not a South City resident.
Police do not believe either of the women were there unwillingly, said South San Francisco police Detective Ken Chetcuti. He said the police are still investigating whether the women ran their own brothel or were part of a larger prostitution ring.
“A lot of Asian brothels are tied in with each other from the whole Bay Area and the girls constantly rotate houses,” Chetcuti said. “They find people that will lease the apartment for them and then they operate their business.”
Police said the women received a misdemeanor citation, a standard charge for prostitution that can lead up to a year in jail, and were released.
According to police, this is South City’s third brothel bust in a year. Chetcuti says the city sees a majority of prostitution problems on the Peninsula because of its many hotels and motels that are close to the airport and readily visible from the highway.
Chetcuti said South City police make 15 to 20 prostitution arrests in hotels annually, which does not include hundreds of times police kick people out of their rooms
without a citation.