HACKENSACK, NJ — Less than two weeks after the city Health Department shuttered a Main Street massage parlor for violating the provisions of its license following the arrests of two female employees from New York — one of whom offered sexual acts to an undercover police detective for money — the mayor and council is enforcing stricter regulations governing city massage parlors’ operating requirements.

During the city council’s January 28 meeting, the governing body unanimously passed a resolution introducing an amendment to Chapter 111 of the City Code effective March 1 mandating that all city massage establishments possess a store front made of transparent glass to allow for full visibility of the interior of the business from the outside.

Additionally, the amended ordinance calls for prohibiting the entrance of such establishments to be sounded by a buzzer or similar locking mechanism.    

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All other provisions in the ordinance — which the city council first adopted nearly two years ago — remain. These include the hours of operation, which continue to be set from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the requirement of all employees to wear opaque outer garments; the coverage of genital areas with towels, cloths or under garments; and the prohibition of patrons or employees to touch or fondle the genital area of any person.  

City officials agree with the health officer that the proposed additions to the ordinance — slated for adoption on Feb. 11 — will “further protect the city from misconduct in such establishments without detrimentally affecting the vast majority of such establishments that operate within legal requirements.”

The additions come on the heels of a prostitution sting that occurred at Healing Hand Spa on Main Street on January 17. After receiving an anonymous tip, an undercover police detective entered the business shortly after noon that Friday. The massage parlor had been situated within a solid-colored door about one foot from the walkway and in between an all-brick building beside 3 Brothers Bagels and Deli and the vacant La Reina del Sabor Restaurant. 

Upon arrival, the undercover officer was greeted by hostess, 50-year-old Shen Qin, of Flushing, New York, who walked him over to masseuse Huaihui Li, 42, of Bayside, New York. Police said Li offered to perform sexual acts on the officer in exchange for cash, after which multiple officers were summoned to the business — 131 Main Street — and arrested the women. Since the incident, a sign now hangs on the door of the building alerting passersby of the closure by the Health Department. 

Qin was charged with promoting prostitution, a third-degree crime, and Li with prostitution, a disorderly persons offense. 

Both women were released on a summons and due in Central Judicial Processing Court in the city on February 3.   

In a news release, Detective Captain Darrin DeWitt extended his gratitude to the unnamed person who phoned in the anonymous tip, stating that the city police department “takes quality of life concerns seriously.” Acknowledging the Hackensack Main Street Business Alliance’s robust efforts to revive the city’s downtown with myriad developments which include luxury residential housing, DeWitt said police are “committed to keeping Hackensack a safe, desirable community as progress continues in its revitalization.”