Worker at Gary spa charged with prostitution; human trafficking officials investigating
Post-Tribune staff report September 4, 2013 8:46PM
Duneland Spa, 3549 Broadway, where one woman was arrested and charged with prostitution. | Lori Caldwell/Post-Tribune
Updated: October 7, 2013 12:47PM
GARY — In City Court Wednesday morning, Xinhua Chan, 59, spoke rapidly, with as many gestures as her handcuffs would allow, but no one understood a word.
Chan, who may be from Taiwan, was arrested Tuesday evening at Duneland Spa, 3549 Broadway, after she was able to communicate clearly with two undercover officers who negotiated sex acts for cash.
She is charged with prostitution.
After obtaining a translator who determined Chan speaks a Mandarin dialect, the court determined to seek help from the Cook County Human Trafficking Response Team. Chan said the owner of the spa returned to Taiwan with her passport and identification. She pleaded not guilty to the charge, claiming she provides only massages.
Chan spoke with emotion and appeared upset as she continued to speak even after bailiffs tried to calm her.
Judge Deidre Monroe read a portion of the charging information aloud, then asked Chan, “Do you understand ‘happy ending?’”
Her question launched another barrage from Chan.
“I don’t know what to do with her,” Monroe said. The only address for Chan is at the spa. Monroe decided to hold her in Gary until Thursday when the Cook County team can provide additional information.
The investigation was sparked by online reviews of sexual encounters at the “spa.” After seeing the reviews, the Narcotics-Vice Unit sent in two officers separately.
The first detective asked for oral sex; Chan mimicked the act for him, then wrote “$60” on a piece of paper and pointed to a bed near the entrance, the arrest report states. He left, saying he needed to get more money.
The second detective brought $100 in marked money, and she agreed to let him disrobe. He asked her to leave while he removed his clothing and used that opportunity to call in the officers who were listening to wire transmissions outside.
When officers knocked on the door, the woman who opened it tried to close it when she saw their badges.
Inside the building, police found $3,200, then another $6,280 stored in two separate belts worn by Chan.
At the time of the arrest, police were aided by the wife of a Gary lieutenant who was able to speak with Chan.