Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Third Person Charged in Massage Parlor Sex Trafficking Ring: DA

A third person was arrested on sex trafficking charges in connection with a scheme to solicit workers for a Queens couple's massage parlors on Long Island, then force those workers into sex acts with customers in what prosecutors call a case of "modern-day slavery. "

Li Fei Leng, of Flushing, was charged with several crimes including promoting prostitution, labor trafficking and five counts of sex trafficking in the scheme, prosecutors say. A husband and wife, Zhaowei Yin and Shuwen Ai, were charged with similar crimes late last month. 

Authorities say the trio posted ads in the local Chinese newspaper seeking massage workers, and respondents were then were directed to a grocery store in Flushing to be picked up, according to prosecutors in Nassau County. 

The victims, who were all over 18 years old, were then taken to spas where they were forced to perform sex acts, many for a five to six-day period, and one for a month, according to prosecutors.

One victim was threatened with deportation and another was threatened with a leak of naked photos if they didn't comply, prosecutors said. 

The businesses, Luxy Beauty Spa in West Hempstead and the Panda Foot Spa in Franklin Square, are now closed, but had been advertised on a sex ad site with keywords known in the sex trade, like "hottest girls" and "new girls," according to prosecutors. 

In one case, a victim left the room at a spa when the customer began choking her -- and then was directed back into the room, according to prosecutors. 

Leng is being held on $250,000 bond or $125,000 bail. She faces up to 35 years behind bars. 

Attorney information for Leng wasn't immediately available. 

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