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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


MARCH 14, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


HUMAN TRAFFICKING INITIATIVE


MORE CHARGES AGAINST OWNERS/OPERATORS

OF ASIAN MASSAGE PARLORS


TWO MORE OWNERS INDICTED FOR TRANSPORTING

PERSONS FOR PROSTITUTION


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a second indictment has been returned in the investigation of a group of Asian massage parlors in Johnson County, Kan., and additional charges have been brought against the Chinese nationals who were previously indicted by a federal grand jury for transporting persons across state lines and national borders for the purpose of prostitution.


U.S. v. Li, et al


             Shu Gang Li, also known as James, 38, and Wei Li Pang, also known as Linda, 37, both Chinese nationals with permanent resident alien status (based on pending political asylum applications) residing in Overland Park, Kan., were charged in a four-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on March 11, 2008. That indictment was unsealed and made public upon the arrests of Li and Pang. Li and Pang are the owners and operators of Asian Massage Health Center in Olathe, Kan. Li is also the owner and operator of Oriental Massage in Mission, Kan.


             The federal indictment alleges that Li and Pang aided and abetted each other and others to transport females in interstate or foreign commerce, with the intent that these females engage in prostitution inside massage parlors and elsewhere. The indictment charges four counts of transporting at least five females in interstate commerce for illegal sexual activity between May 3, 2006, and May 2, 2007.


             The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Li and Pang to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including $95,000 that was seized from a Commerce Bank account and all cash and monies seized by the FBI during the execution of federal search warrants at the defendants’ residences and businesses on May 10, 2007.


U.S. v. Xu, et al


             Ling Xu, also known as Cherry, 46, Zhong Yan Liu, also known as Lucky, 36, and Cheng Tang, also known as Tom, 22, all citizens of China residing in Overland Park, were charged in a six-count superseding indictment that was also returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on March 11, 2008. That indictment was unsealed and made public today. This superseding indictment replaces a federal indictment that was returned on May 31, 2007, and includes an additional conspiracy charge as well as additional counts of transporting persons in interstate commerce for criminal sexual activity.


             The charge contained in the original indictment remains against Hongmei Madole, also known as Hongmei Zhou, 32, of Olathe, a native of China who is a conditional resident alien in the United States based upon marriage to a U.S. citizen. Madole was charged with aiding and abetting others to transport at least one individual in interstate and foreign commerce, with the intent that such individual engage in prostitution.


             Xu and Liu are married to other persons, with whom they have limited contact, and were living together with Xu’s son, Tang. Xu, Liu and Tang were involved in operating China Rose Massage and China Villa Massage/Lin Dynasty in Overland Park. They also operated a nearby residence that was allegedly utilized both for prostitution and to house the Asian females who worked at China Rose Massage.


             The superseding indictment alleges that, from June 7, 2005, to May 10, 2007, Xu, Liu, and Tang participated in a conspiracy to transport persons in interstate commerce for criminal sexual activity. According to the indictment, Xu, Liu, and Tang transported female Asian nationals and others across state lines and national borders with the intent that these females would engage in prostitution inside massage parlors and elsewhere. The proceeds of the commercial sex services were then split between the conspirators, the indictment alleges, and wired through Western Union via illegal and fraudulent means to China.


             According to the indictment, Xu and Tang advertised in Chinese World Journal, a Chinese magazine circulated in the United States, seeking to employ Chinese females as masseuses for their massage parlors in Overland Park. After receiving inquiries to their advertisements from female Asian nationals who had entered the United States from China, Xu would arrange for or instruct the females to fly from areas around the United States, usually New York and California, to Kansas City International Airport. Xu, Liu, or Tang would then drive the females from the airport to the massage parlors in Overland Park.


             The indictment alleges that Xu, Liu and Tang housed the female Asian nationals inside a massage parlor or in a rented residence located within walking distance, and that they installed surveillance cameras to monitor the female Asian nationals inside the massage parlors at China Rose and China Villa.


             Xu and Tang would have some of the female Asian nationals apply for massage therapist licenses in Overland Park, the indictment says, and sign their names on the application as the manager of the massage parlors. Xu allegedly signed the massage license applications for at least 12 female Asian nationals to obtain massage licenses in Overland Park, and Tang allegedly signed the massage license applications for at least seven female Asian nationals to obtain massage licenses in Overland Park. However, the indictment says, Xu and Tang would also employ some of the female Asian nationals without having them obtain licenses. Xu, Liu, and Tang operated the businesses which allegedly offered and provided the prostitution and allowed illegal sexual services. Xu, Liu, and Tang instructed, provided, allowed or promoted for the female Asian nationals they employed to offer and provide sexual services to male patrons, the indictment says. This allegedly included offers of sexual services to identified male patrons and undercover law enforcement officers.


              Xu, Liu, and Tang wired the proceeds of the businesses to China, according to the indictment, using fraudulent means of identification on a number of the wire transfers. The indictment alleges several occasions in which a total of $452,500 in proceeds from the prostitution businesses was wired to China.


             Xu and Tang allegedly supplied condoms for the female Asian nationals to utilize during the commercial sex services. In total, the indictment says, 1,212 empty condom wrappers were collected from the trash located outside the residence and massage parlors.


             In addition to the conspiracy, Xu, Liu, and Tang are each charged in five counts of transporting persons in interstate commerce for criminal sexual activity.


             Today’s superseding indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Xu, Liu, and Tang to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses and any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $452,500 representing the proceeds obtained by the defendants as well as $60,497 that was seized by the FBI during the execution of federal search warrants at the defendants’ residences and businesses.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia L. Cordes. They were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the police departments of Overland Park, Kan., Olathe, Kan., Mission, Kan., Lenexa, Kan., and Independence, Mo., and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.


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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