Five arrested in prostitution sting

The Associated Press
Monday May 13, 2002

PALO ALTO — Five people were arrested this weekend in raids on three health centers police said were part of a prostitution ring. 

Officers said they found small rooms fitted with red light bulbs and mattresses when they searched the Japanese Acupuncture Center, the Hong Kong Health Center and Oriental Health Center. 

“Each location was bringing in up to $15,000 a week,” said Palo Alto police Sgt. Lacey Burt, who led the investigation. 

Police also found about 20 customers as they searched the centers on Saturday. 

“Let’s just say they became very cooperative witnesses for us,” Burt said. The customers would not be charged. 

The investigation began in February after a routine city inspection at the Alma Street acupuncture center. 

Police arrested the owners of the massage parlors: Sheng Chen, 33, of Los Altos; Peterson Chen, 57, of San Francisco, who is no relation; Hong Liu, 39, and her husband, Konrad Sy, 33, both of San Jose. They also arrested Chung Ling, 27, an employee. 

Police said most of the women who worked at the centers were Chinese immigrants with student visas. They were not cooperating with the investigation, Burt said.