Two Kennewick massage parlors were shut down by Kennewick police after massage therapists allegedly sexually assaulted male and female customers.
Police began investigating claims against China Sun Foot Massage, 7903 W. Grandridge Blvd., in July after a woman said she had received an improper massage there, said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin.
The owner, Li Shu Cui, also operates a second location at 3321 W. Kennewick Ave., called China Sun Massage.
An undercover officer also went in to get a massage and another sexual assault allegedly occurred.
"We are anticipating there are probably other victims out there, but most probably would be embarrassed about it and would never report it," Lattin told the Herald. "Most people would think they're just not going to go back there."
But, Lattin said, investigators would like anyone who thought they were sexually assaulted at China Sun to report it to police.
"We're going to be discreet and sensitive to their feelings on this because it is an embarrassing situation," he said.
Kennewick police also are working with other state and federal agencies who may have an interest in the case and will be sharing information with them, he said.
Local officers had help from U.S. marshals and Immigration & Customs Enforcement on Tuesday when they served search warrants at the two businesses and the Deschutes Avenue apartment where the women lived.
"It's fair to say that we speculated that there was human trafficking involved," he said. "However, there is no evidence of that. The people involved say no, and there was no evidence in what we collected in the search warrants."
The women reportedly were paid $800 a month but worked 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, court documents stated. They also had to give $300 back to Cui for rent for the apartment they shared, documents stated.
Lattin said those details could lead to a suspicion of human trafficking, but right now, investigators don't have evidence to make the link.
"We're not totally discounting that," he added.
The victim who spurred the investigation reported that on July 27, she received a full-body massage from Xiu Qin Sun, who also is known as Susan.
Sun, 43, had the woman disrobe and lay face down on the massage table. She said she was left completely exposed at least once and Sun allegedly touched her inappropriately several times while massaging her inner thighs, court documents stated.
The victim said she heard Sun unzip her pants and pull them off. She then climbed on the victim's back to massage her with her knees, and the victim described feeling skin on skin, documents stated.
On Aug. 6, a retired Pasco police officer was sent in undercover to the business and got a two-hour, full-body massage from Sun, documents stated.
Sun reportedly touched or brushed the man's genitals and inappropriately touched his buttocks after removing the towel that was covering him, documents stated.
Kennewick's female undercover officer went into China Sun Foot Massage on July 30 and got a full-body massage from Lo Yan Zhen, documents stated.
Zhen, who also is known by the name Linda, told the officer to remove her clothes and lay on the table. The undercover officer left her underwear on, but during the massage, Zhen reportedly pulled them down and left her exposed from the waist down, documents stated.
Zhen, 43, also put a towel over the officer's face, climbed onto her and touched her inappropriately while massaging her inner thighs, documents stated.
On Aug. 2, the retired Pasco officer went in and got a massage from Zhen. Zhen allegedly left him exposed on the table and rubbed his genitals while using her forearm to massage his inner thighs, documents stated.
Sun and Zhen were arrested and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of two counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and practicing without a license.
Practicing without a license is a gross misdemeanor for a first offense but becomes a felony on a second offense, according to state law.
Sun and Zhen made initial appearances Wednesday in Benton County District Court and were placed on a 72-hour no-bail hold.
Cui, 41, also is being held without bail for investigation of three counts of practicing without a license. He reportedly told investigators that he knew his five employees did not have Washington masseuse licenses.
Two other women, Yamei Wang, 43, and Jian Mei Liu, 41, also were arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of practicing without a license.
They are accused of providing massages to undercover officers July 24 and not having a valid license on them or displaying one at the business.
The undercover officers each paid $70 for the massages, which included a $10 tip that was reportedly demanded by the receptionist, documents stated.
Wang and Liu remained in custody Wednesday evening on $500 bail.
The city of Kennewick business license for China Sun Massage also was revoked, Lattin said.
The business received a license from the city in March, according to online records. China Sun Foot Massage was licensed by the state Jan. 11. Jean Chou of Bellevue is listed as the registered agent, with Cui as a member of the limited liability corporation.
Cui previously had a state business license for China Sun Foot Massage in Auburn. The business account with the state Department of Revenue was opened Sept. 1 and closed Dec. 31, records show.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org