Sunday, December 21, 2003

Massage gals rush to dress as cops charge in

RICHMOND, B.C. — Two women at a Richmond massage parlour fell afoul of regulations last week and were cited for "inappropriate attire" by a city bylaw official. The fines stemmed from a series of inspections conducted at seven massage parlours Thursday night by the bylaw official, nine police officers, a Canada Immigration officer and a city fire inspector.  The visits were triggered by police suspicions that the parlours were fronts for prostitution and organized gang activity.

While no sex acts were uncovered, there were multiple bylaw and fire-code infractions, a good many speedy departures — and some hurried efforts to don clothing. A police news release revealed some of the details.

"In their rush to appear 'normal,' two men jumped into the same shower and the females entered the same washroom to get dressed," said the release from RCMP Cpl. Peter Thiessen. The release describes a short skirt being "askew" and a set of female underwear worn inside out. "When this shortcoming was brought to their attention, the females were very embarrassed and admitted that they were in a "hurry," said the release. "All the employees were dressed misappropriately, with two females receiving fines for their attire." Thiessen couldn't say why the attire was unsuitable, but "there are certain regulations they have to meet under the bylaw in regards to this business."

Thiessen said the officers found examples at other massage parlours of warning lights, tales of hurried departure and, in one case after a search, absent female underwear. At one parlour, a known gang member was found.

Thiessen said that on Oct. 28, two Korean women linked to employment at the Holiday Body Care on Minoru Boulevard were intercepted by Canada Immigration officers at Vancouver airport and were to be flown to Seoul.

Last year, Richmond had 23 massage parlours compared to 14 now. Thiessen attributes the closure of three to the RCMP's "proactive enforcement approach."

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Created: April 20, 2004
Last modified: April 22, 2004
CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710