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November 21, 2017 06:02 PM

Hong Kong Ruby Owners Denied Licenses But Open For Business

Our KELOLAND News investigation into the problem of businesses that give "More than a Massage," highlights the issue of prostitution in the massage industry. 

A new report into human trafficking finds that websites like Rub Maps and Backpage are a prime place for illegal businesses to advertise. 

As KELOLAND Investigates has learned, South Dakota is not immune to the problem. 

The South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy has little power to act in South Dakota unless a formal complaint is filed with it.  

But it did happen last year, when the board revoked the license of Yufang Xie who operated two locations of Asian Health Massage in Sioux Falls.   

That was after two years of police finding massages being given without a license and three people were charged. The massage board acknowledged that "the use of unlicensed individuals in the massage therapy business in South Dakota is a serious problem."

Xie admitted her unlicensed employees were trafficked because they were brought into Sioux Falls from other countries and states.  

The Board has also denied massage licenses in the past.  

In fact, the owners of this Rapid City massage business, Hong Kong Ruby, applied for licenses back in 2015.  

Zuojin Zhang and Feng Wei were both denied massage licenses by the board.  

Rapid City Police tells us they have issued tickets to Hong Kong Ruby operators for practicing massage without a license in the past.   

"Whenever we receive a complaint in regards to one of our massage parlors, we will follow up on it and we have in the past; but it's something that's not done on a regular basis," Sgt. Kelvin Masur of the Rapid City Police Department said. 

But Hong Kong Ruby Massage continues to advertise on Backpage.com, showing pictures of young women with the words: "full body massage by sweet Asian girl." 

Hong Kong Ruby is also listed on Rub Maps - a member-driven review site that advertises, "where fantasy meets reality" and "happy endings." 

A new massage industry report on human trafficking in the massage business says ads on these sites, along with late night hours are often signs of illicit massage businesses.  

Hong Kong Ruby's is open until 10 p.m., every night of the week.  

The South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy tells KELOLAND News the board does not license establishments, only individuals, and there isn't a way to know where they're working.  

KELOLAND Investigates contacted Hong Kong Ruby's to ask who was licensed to give massages at their establishment and also why they're listed on the questionable websites. We didn't get any answers.  The person answering the phone told KELOLAND News she didn't speak English. Kennecke left her contact information, asking the owners to call me, but no one returned my call. 

Tuesday on KELOLAND News at 10, we continue our investigation "More than a Massage," with a look at how online ads have led to recent prostitution busts and we pay a visit to three Sioux Falls businesses to ask them about their listings on these websites.  

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