Merced massage parlor faces prostitution investigation – again

A Merced massage parlor is facing its second prostitution investigation in less than a year after police arrested one of its employees earlier this month.

Nok Gowing, 54, was arrested on suspicion of prostitution, a misdemeanor, on Aug. 21, Merced police reported in a news release.

Sgt. Don King said an undercover police officer on Aug. 21 went into the Sunflower Massage Parlor at 1014 W. 18th St. Gowing, an employee, allegedly offered “sex acts” for money. Malaaithong Sinhbandith, 55, another employee, was cited for massaging without a license, police said.

The Sunflower Massage Parlor was one of several parlors and hotels targeted by police a year ago during a large-scale prostitution sting that eventually netted 34 arrests, Merced police confirmed.

The business, which at the time was listed as the “Sunflower Spa,” was shut down for a short time after the raids in September and October, but reopened a few weeks later.

Merced police believe the same people still operate the business, King confirmed.

The business is listed with the city of Merced as “Ruby Spa,” and the name of the business owner on the license is Ya Lin Liu. There are no other records of that person operating any other businesses in Merced, according to city records. At the time of the previous raid, the owner listed on the business license was Zhu Ji.

The name of the property owner, according to Merced County Assessor’s Office records, is John Pierre-Mendoza, who has been the listed business owner since April 2001. There are no records of Pierre-Mendoza owning any other property in Merced County, according to the Assessor’s Office.

Efforts to reach both people Thursday were unsuccessful.