Kings County District Attorney's Office
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced Monday the conclusion of the second phase of an ongoing investigation into prostitution and sex trafficking rings being run out of local “spas.”
The first phase was announced on July 11 and resulted in the arrest of 19 people in connection with the operation of 12 unrelated so-called spas and massage parlors in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.
In total, five “spa” locations were shut down; six individuals were indicted for running two separate prostitution rings, one of which was involved in sex trafficking; and six others were arrested on charges involving prostitution.
“I hope that these arrests will send a message not only to the communities of Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint, but throughout Brooklyn, that my office shares their concerns regarding these so-called `massage parlors,’ and we will not tolerate illicit operations that exploit women and adversely affect neighborhoods.”
The first indictment charges four defendants with Sex Trafficking and related charges. According to the indictment, the primary defendants Yun Feng Zhang, Yan Liu, Boxuan Zhang and Zhan Wei Liu ran the Zhang/Liu prostitution ring.
Boxuan Zhang and Zhan Wei Liu also ran a similar business in Merrimack, N.H., called Asian Massage, and were arrested in the town by local authorities on Saturday after fleeing New York, according to the Associated Press. Authorities in New Hampshire are investigating them on suspicion of related offenses.
The second indictment charges two defendants with Promoting Prostitution and related charges. According to the indictment, primary defendants Nataliya Drevetska and Sergey Talko ran the Drevetska/Talko prostitution ring.
KCDA’s inquiry into the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights locations began after citizens living in the affected communities complained to KCDA through Community Board 10 late last year. These residents reported suspicious and disruptive activities in places that held themselves out as legitimate day spas and massage therapy locations.
"As soon as Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and I received the most recent petition from residents and neighbors, we immediately contacted Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes,” said state Senator Marty Golden. “Cracking down on this illicit activity not only protects our community but also the young women being exploited,” noted Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotkis.
The investigation into the Zhang/Liu ring was based on information obtained when one of the victims contacted KCDA in December, 2012. According to the indictment, a woman was assaulted and was forced to engage in prostitution at one of the ring’s “spas.”
The indictment charges that one of the defendants repeatedly kicked and slapped this woman, telling her that the customer is “God” and she must do whatever a customer requests.
The Zhang/Liu ring regularly advertised under a variety of names that offered massage therapy on websites like Craigslist.com, Backpage.com and Rubmaps.com. The name of the facility at 307 Henry St.was “Blue Diamond Health Center.” According to the investigation, it was also known as “Spring Spa Body Work Station Inc.” and “Spring Spa, Inc.”
The 223 Calyer St. location was called, “Health Center Massage Therapy,” also known as “Oasis Spa.”
The Drevetska/Talko ring allegedly operated out of various locations in the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights sections of Brooklyn. The “Beauty Connection Day Spa” was at 1275-77 70th St., and the “City Style Spa” was located at 8017 New Utrecht Ave.
This ring also regularly advertised online, offering “Amazing Body Rub. . . Unforgettable Full Bodywork” massages in Brooklyn, The ads also featured extremely graphic photos of scantily dressed women in sexually explicit poses.
“These massage parlors pose more than a quality of life problem for our neighborhoods – they harbor prostitution and abuse human trafficking victims,” said Kathleen McGee, director of the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement.
Michael Ryan, Rackets Division bureau chief, and Assistant District Attorneys Courtney Redman and Vineet Mehta are prosecuting the cases.