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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



MAY 11, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OWNERS/OPERATORS OF ASIAN MASSAGE PARLORS

CHARGED WITH TRANSPORTING PERSONS

FOR PROSTITUTION


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that four Chinese nationals who own and operate a group of Asian massage parlors in Johnson County, Kan., were charged in federal court today with transporting persons across state lines and national borders for the purpose of prostitution.


             Ling Xu, also known as Cherry, 45, Zhong Yan Liu, 35, and Cheng Tang, also known as Tom, 21, all citizens of China residing in Overland Park, Kan., and Hongmei Madole, also known as Hongmei Zhou, 31, of Olathe, Kan., a native of China who is a conditional resident alien in the United States based upon marriage to a U.S. citizen, were charged in a criminal complaint filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. Xu, Liu and Tang are involved in operating China Rose Massage and China Villa Massage in Overland Park. They also operate a residence that is allegedly utilized both for prostitution and to house the Asian females who work at China Rose Massage. Madole is the owner of Asian Touch Massage in Olathe.


             Today’s federal criminal complaint alleges that, from Nov. 1, 2005, to May 10, 2007, Xu, Liu, Tang and Madole aided and abetted each other and others to transport and attempt to transport at least one individual in interstate or foreign commerce with intent that such individual engage in prostitution.


             According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, an undercover officer visited China Rose Massage, China Villa Massage and Asian Touch Massage on several occasions between January and May 2007, and was solicited to engage in sexual acts with the Asian females during each visit.


             During the investigation, the affidavit says, law enforcement officers conducted trash covers at China Villa Massage and another Overland Park location operated by Xu, Liu and Tang. During trash covers conducted from Feb. 13 to May 1, 2007, the evidence recovered from the garbage included more than 1,000 empty condom wrappers and evidence of airline flights to Kansas City, Mo., from Los Angeles, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., New York, N.Y., and Las Vegas, Nev. Officers also recovered receipts for money wired to China, with one receipt demonstrating that the receiver was in Australia.


             From August 2005 through December 2006, the affidavit says, the defendants sent Western Union wire transfers totaling $83,300 to China.


             There have been numerous complaints made regarding the massage parlors. According to the affidavit, the Overland Park Police Department received an anonymous letter in September 2006 that was postmarked Long Beach, Calif. Although the letter was written in Chinese, it contained an English title of “Prostitution.” The letter stated that the “boss and his woman” at China Rose were coercing and exploiting Chinese women to reap a fortune for themselves, while sending the money to mainland China. On another occasion, an anonymous caller to the Greater Kansas City Crimestoppers TIPS Hot Line claimed China Rose smuggled females from China to the United States, rotating them every 20 days through San Francisco, Calif.


            Wood cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Phillips. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the police departments of Overland Park, Kan., Olathe, Kan., Mission, Kan., Lenexa, Kan., and Independence, Mo.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html