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Council Revokes 3 Massage Licenses Connected to Prostitution Sting

Yinyin Massage and Hopkins Asian Massage will no longer be able to do business in Hopkins. Yazhi Xiao will no longer be able to work in the city as a masseuse.

The Hopkins City Council on Tuesday permanently revoked the massage licenses for two businesses accused of permitting prostitution and a masseuse accused of engaging in prostitution.

In testimony nearly identical to , Police Chief Reynolds told council members how residents tipped off officers that prostitution was occurring, investigators saw prostitution reviews on websites and police conducted an undercover sting May 1.

 

Yinyin Massage

The owners of both massage businesses denied that they allowed prostitution to take place. Yu Ying Chen, a Minneapolis resident who owns Yinyin Massage at 901 First St. N., blamed the incident on confusion as she got ready to visit her sick father in China.

She said the masseuse accused of prostitution, Gui Hua Yang, approached her at the beginning of April for a job, saying she had financial difficulties and had experience working in Edina—even though she actually had no license.

When Chen got notice that her father was sick, she offered Yang the job. She said she never physically looked at Yang’s license and that she just assumed the license was in order because Edina has strict massage ordinances. She then left for China on April 22.

“I was kind of shocked myself,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I feel kind of sorry about it. During that day, I wasn’t in the shop and I couldn’t say anything about it.”

Yet council members didn’t feel like that was a sufficient excuse—noting that simply failing to verify a masseuse’s license is sufficient cause for license revocation.

“It’s really the responsibility of the business to double check that,” Mayor Gene Maxwell said.

 

Hopkins Asian Massage

Wei Pan, a Wayzata resident who owns Hopkins Asian Massage at 1209 Mainstreet, offered a similar explanation of events. She said she, too, traveled to China on April 22—in her case because she had health problems and doesn’t have health insurance. She returned to the United States on May 10.

“I don’t know what to say,” Pan said.

The May 1 sting marked the second time police discovered prostitution at Hopkins Asian Massage in less than a year. Investigators arrested a masseuse on suspicion of prostitution in August in a case that led the council to create requiring licenses for most massage business.

But Pan said she took over the shop in March when she saw it for sale in a newspaper and that she was not the owner at the time of the last prostitution sting.

Yet council also found that Pan’s justifications were insufficient.

None of the business owners have been charged criminally.

 

Masseuse Yazhi Xiao

Unlike the businesses, Hopkins Asian Massage masseuse Yazhi Xiao denied that prostitution ever took place. During the hearing on whether to revoke her individual license, she said the undercover officer took off his towel at the end of his massage, exposed himself, said something about a tip and made a sexual gesture. When Xiao tried to help him up, officers came in and arrested her, she said.

Charging documents dispute this, saying that Xiao offered to perform manual sex on the officer for an extra $40. In the business, investigators also found a logbook with two columns—one column showing varying amounts and another column with exclusively $40 entries.

Police think the second column notes additional money for prostitution services, although Pan said that was just the amount the masseuses got paid.

Police Sgt. Michael Glassberg also noted that Xiao never offered that explanation after her arrest and that the undercover officer secretly recorded his time in the business. That recording is evidence in the criminal case and was not played during Tuesday’s council hearings.

Council swiftly moved to revoke Xiao’s license.

Xiao, of Wayzata, has been charged with prostitution in a public place, a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine if she’s convicted.

Yang, the Yinyin masseuse, faces the same charge. She was not a part of Tuesday’s hearings because she never obtained a Hopkins license. The city could have also charged Yang with operating without a license but declined to do so since she is already facing a criminal charge.

 

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Norman Teigen June 07, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I watched the proceedings on public access TV. I was struck by how fair the proceedings were handled. The license keepers were given every opportunity to make a presentation of their case. The Council, under the Mayor's guidance, moved cautiously and fairly to protect the interests of the City of Hopkins and the due process interests of the license holders. The city attorney advised the Council to make a determination of the truth of the facts presented by the Chief of Police. After the facts we're ruled to be accurate, the Council then made its ruling. This is the best example of good city government in action.
James Warden (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 12:35 PM
The other thing that I noted was the civility. The mayor thanked the license holders for their time. The officials showed cultural sensitivity in asking the interpreter to help them pronounce the Chinese-language names the correct way. If you watched the Boryspil presentation at the end of the meeting, you saw Irina Fursman say that it was unfortunate that the council had to have such hearings and that she hopes the sister city visitors get a more upbeat look at Hopkins when they attend a council meeting. But I have to disagree. While it's never a good thing to have disciplinary hearings, I think Tuesday's hearings would have shown the visitors how highly Hopkins values due process and rule of law.
Jillien Higgins June 29, 2012 at 02:07 PM
After living in Beijing for three years, I had many chances to hear and see how massage parlors there operate as covers for brothels. Ask any Chinese person and they will tell you that these businesses operating in Hopkins were actually covers for prostitution and they will not be surprised. I am worried however, about the actual masseuses being prosecuted. There is a strong likelihood that they are victims of human trafficking themselves and I hope they receive all the help and support possible to start a new life.
carl February 17, 2013 at 07:15 PM
there is alot of good ones to, i own 2 i see it,s the way pepole look at asians in the USA that come and work hard. And most of them ownley know how to massage but all the pigs hear think is that they want more you don,t see them hassle girls at the american stores!!! THey are victems of are society, from the pig men and the goverment, i am american my wife is chines see it from both sides!!!

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