Westfield massage parlor managers charged with promoting prostitution

The managers of four Westfield massage parlors were arrested this week and charged with offering clients sexual acts for cash, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan and acting Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro jointly announced Friday.

Qingxia Zhu, 28, of Westfield, Jing Liu, 53, of Linden, Xiaoman Zhang, 56, of Watchung, and Michelle X. Gao, 60, of Springfield are charged with third-degree promoting prostitution and promoting prostitution in a school zone, a fourth-degree offense. Liu is additionally charged with second-degree money laundering.

A joint investigation into this matter by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit and Westfield Police Department, which grew to also involve the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit and members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, was launched in December 2017, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sheets, who is prosecuting the case.  The investigation ultimately revealed that Zhu, Liu, Zhang, and Gao were engaged in the aforementioned criminal conduct at Chan Spa on the 500 block of North Avenue East, Central Avenue Spa on the 700 block of Central Avenue, Natural Massage Therapy on the 400 block of Boulevard, and Sunny Spa on the 900 block of South Avenue West, respectively, Sheets said.

Search warrants were executed at those four locations and a fifth location on the 100 block of West Stimpson Avenue in Linden Wednesday afternoon, resulting in the seizure of approximately $16,000 in cash and items of evidentiary value such as ledgers, receipts, phones, and computers.

The four defendants will be scheduled to appear in Superior Court in the coming weeks. Anyone with additional information about their activities is being urged to contact Westfield Police Department Detective Jason Merritt at 908-789-6081 or State Police Detective Mark Wettengel at 609-649-5321. 

Convictions on third-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 3 to 5 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.