Philadelphia police on Wednesday arrested two people following a sting at two Chinatown massage parlors that were allegedly offering sex acts for sale.
Sun Yu Jin, 48, of Flushing, N.Y., and 30-year-old Ji Young Kim of Chinatown are charged with criminal solicitation and prostitution. Both women were arraigned on Thursday and released on their own recognizance. They are each next due in court on Tuesday for status hearings.
The arrests were a result of an undercover operation conducted by the Citywide Vice Unit between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9, police said. Jin and Kim allegedly solicited undercover officers for sex acts, the former at an establishment at209 N. 11th Street between Race and Vine streets, and the latter at 1010 Cherry Street.
The building at 1010 Cherry Street is owned by restaurateur Joseph Poon, according to city records. According to his website, the chef operates a second-floor kitchen where he gives cooking classes to participants in his “Wok n’ Walk” tour of the neighborhood.
Records show the property was in 2009 cited by the Department of License and Inspections for numerous violations, including lightening and electrical hazards, renovations lacking proper permits and prohibited conduct.
The city has taken the building owner to court for those offenses, which are listed on records as “not complied” and “hazardous.”
A website called “1010 Cherry” bills the location as offering “Philadelphia’s best massage, providing true relaxation for Gentlemen.”
While it does not specify what services are offered, it provides a phone number, email, operating hours and a price: $60 for one hour plus tips, noting, “girls work for tips.”
The location at 209 N. 11th Street does not have a business license and is zoned as a multistory office building, according to city tax records.
But an ad posted just last week on classifieds service BackPage.com advertises a business at that address called “Y.C.O.” with a dry sauna, table shower and “all sexy Korean staff.”
Investigators made Wednesday’s bust after receiving a combination of citizen tips and officer-gathered intelligence, authorities said.