Chinese Massage Parlor Worker Dies in Police Raid

Witnesses say Yang Song jumped from the third floor (Photo via Sing Tao Daily)

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, when many people were celebrating the holiday with their family and friends, a 38-year-old woman working for a massage parlor in downtown Flushing jumped from the third-floor store during a police raid against sex dens. She was badly injured and died in the hospital the morning of Nov. 26. According to the police report, her name is Yang Song. And according to people familiar with the situation, Song aka Cici, came from Shenyang, China. She had been working in illegal massage parlors for one or two years and had been arrested many times before. 

The raid took place at about 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 25 when police officers from the Queens North Vice Enforcement Unit broke into an illegal massage parlor at 135-32 40 Road in Flushing. A Chinese woman wearing black clothes, who tried to dodge the police, jumped out of a window sandwiched between the third and the fourth floors. She landed on the ground facing the Chinese restaurant on the first floor with blood oozing out of her neck and face. Witnesses said she hit a platform sticking out from the second floor before she fell to the ground. And she was conscious at first when she was lying there and tried to wipe the blood from her face with her hand. 

Close to 10 police cars and two to three ambulances rushed to the scene. The woman was sent to New York-Presbyterian in Queens and police cordoned off the scene. They didn’t arrest anyone during the action that night. On Nov. 26, the police said the hospital had announced the death of the woman in the morning. By press time, the police were still not able to contact her family. On the afternoon of Nov. 26, the blood was still visible on the ground where she fell, and businesses and residents around the area said they were still in shock.  

According to people who are familiar with the massage parlor, Cici, who had been working at the massage parlor for one or two years, was from Shenyang. And she was tall with big eyes. People heard she recently married a man who has legal status. Cici sometimes stayed in the massage parlor 24 hours. Before the raid, the massage parlor had been targeted by law enforcement several times, and Cici had been arrested four times. She was beaten up one or two months ago by a non-Chinese client during an argument.

People with knowledge [of the location] said the third and fourth floors of the building are used as an illegal massage parlor. During the raid, people on the third floor fled by another route when they heard the noise. On the fourth floor there was only Cici and a colleague. Their guess was that Cici jumped out of the window when she saw police standing at the gate and worried that she could be deported or get a heavy sentence if she was arrested. 

Some say the owner of the massage parlor is a Chinese man whose last name is Li. The business is thriving. He rents the beds on the fourth floor out to women who provide (sexual) massage services for $300 each. After paying the $300 per day rental fee, the women can pocket the rest of the money they make. 

Forty Road is a street known for restaurants where you can find all sorts of Chinese cuisines from Cantonese and Taiwanese to mainland Chinese. But it’s also infamous for the illegal massage parlors. Every night, women who provide sexual massage services often stand in front of some of the shops to solicit clients, a headache for other businesses in the area including the legal massage parlors.  

“Sometimes when the customers shop in my store, these women come to solicit them,” said a business owner who would like to remain anonymous. Some customers hate being bothered like this and they’d leave immediately without purchasing the items they have selected. “This affects our business a lot,” said the owner. “And there are legal massage therapy businesses on this street. But now many people think all massage parlors here are sex dens. Even clients who need massage therapy don’t come anymore.”

Some residents living around the area say visitors from other neighborhoods are often shocked by the existence of these illegal businesses in Flushing. “They have been here for a long time. You can arrest them, but they are soon released and come back here again,” said the residents. “Arresting the massage parlor workers won’t work. You have to shut down all the illegal massage parlors.”

One Comment

  1. When death is rationalized over public nuisance complaints

    Its time to change the social perception that she wasn’t a person, she was a “prostitute”. No one wants to feel a sense of community or sameness with her. She was something other than us and therefore we don’t need to feel fear or grief at the fact or the manner of her death.”

    RIP Yang Song, you will not be forgotten and your name will be included on Dec 7th International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

    To find local Dec 17th, events in NY please visit
    http://www.december17.org/2017/10/30/united-states-2017/

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