Davis police arrested the owner of a downtown massage business on suspicion of prostitution Thursday.
A sting operation revealed that 50-year-old Ping Li was using her business, Spring 380 Massage, for prostitution, said Lt. Thomas Waltz in a press release. An undercover officer went into the business and Li was arrested immediately after agreeing to perform sexual acts in exchange for money, he said.
Li, a resident of Monterey Park, was booked and released after being charged with a single count of prostitution, which is a misdemeanor in California. A KCRA report said Li spoke limited English and was read her rights in Chinese.
The investigation began in 2007 after a number of residents raised concerns with the Davis Police Department. Police discovered that up to four massage parlors within a four-block area downtown were being frequented exclusively by male clients, Waltz said.
Suspicions of prostitution were confirmed when investigators found “the remnants of sexual activity” being disposed of in a communal restroom near one of the businesses, he said.
An investigation into other massage businesses is ongoing.
Other local massage therapists said the operation was disappointing but necessary.
“It reinforces the need to be conscientious, informed consumers,” said Amy Cardace, a certified massage therapist with the Davis Holistic Health Center downtown. “There are simple actions people can take to make sure the massage they seek out is from a reputable therapist.“
Cardace said consumers should ask around for a referral, trust their instincts, and try not to let fear get the best of them. She also recommended browsing Davis Wiki for comments from other community members.
“While no one wants to unintentionally support businesses involved in illicit activities, most massage therapists are serious professionals,” she said.
Nanci Steger, owner of Natural Healing Therapeutic Massage on Second Street, said she requires all her clients to agree to a statement that makes clear that their intentions are not sexual in nature.
Sacramento Sheriff’s Department and the FBI collaborated with the Davis Police Department in Thursday’s operation.
JEREMY OGUL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.