The Millbrae Police Department shut down two massage parlors after sending in undercover officers to solicit sex.
Life Reflection on 106 Park Pl. and Acupressure Help Center on 119 Park Blvd. closed their doors in early August. Officers began investigating after receiving complaints from residents on the frequency of men patronizing the businesses, according to MPD Commander Mark Raffaelli.
“We had an individual tell us that a lady started fondling him when she was giving him a massage,” Raffaelli said. “And when we sent in officers, sexual advanced were made on them.”
He said the department received prostitution complaints at both establishments, however officers were offered sex at only one parlor, Acupressure Help Center, while the other was shut because of an expired license and lack of proper business permits.
Life Reflection is a foot massage parlor, and legally is only allowed to work on hands, feet and head. But, Raffaelli said, the officers were offered full-body massage, albeit nonsexual.
“I’ve never offered sex. I’m over 50. I’m a good citizen,” said Li Shao Wong, owner of Life Reflections.
And some business neighbors believe her.
“There’s nothing that leads me to believe that anything illegal was going on,” said Erwin Ombao, the owner of Dental Care, located at 112 Park Pl. “Some of the masseuses were men, I saw them taking smoke breaks. And I’ve seen lots of women customers.”
Life Reflection remains closed. Wong said she never received a business license renewal letter from the city and thought she could perform full-body massages with her cosmetology license.
But in fact, she cannot practice those massages with her license, according to the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.
A full-body masseuse needs 250 hours of training from an accredited school, three practice years and a valid permit from a city or county to practice full-body massages, which Life Reflection lacked, according to the police department.
The City of Millbrae gave Wong 15 days to appeal from the closure date of Aug. 4, but due to her limited English, she was not aware of the process.
“They didn’t give us any chance. They just shut us down,” Wong said. She has been trying to sell her business, as she now has no means of paying the $1800 a month rent.
Acupressure Help Center will be criminally charged.