BALLSTON SPA — Four people, three of them Chinese nationals, were arrested Thursday after a lengthy investigation into illicit activity at a Ballston Spa massage parlor, the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office said.
Three people face prostitution-related charges, while one is charged with practicing a profession without a license. The Oriental Spa at 357 Milton Ave. operated as a massage parlor, but deputies said it allowed and promoted prostitution, and no employees were licensed massage therapists.
Those arrested were Xiu Fen Feng, 56, of Ballston Spa; Limei Ning, 43, of Ballston Spa; Kanjwei Liu, 48, of Ballston Spa; and Lawrence B. Boutillette, 71, of Broadalbin. The women are all Chinese nationals, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Feng and Boutillette were charged with promoting prostitution, third-degree, a Class D felony. Ning was charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, and Class E felony, and prostitution, which is a misdemeanor. Liu is charged with unauthorized practice of a profession.
All four were arraigned before Milton Town Justice Timothy Brown and sent to the Saratoga County Jail without bail pending further proceedings, deputies said.
The massage parlor is located in an older mixed-use building about a block off Route 50, in the north end of the village.
Ballston Spa Mayor Larry Woolbright said he doesn't see the arrests as reflecting on the village, where the downtown has been revitalized.
"I don't think this reflects on the village at all," Woolbright said. "Undesirable people do undesirable things all over the place."
He believes the illicit massage parlor is an isolated case within the village's business community.
"We've got a lot of good businessmen doing a lot to revitalize the village downtown, and it's not representative of anything the village wants to have," Woolbright said.