Appeal hearing for massage parlour delayed until May
Published Thursday, April 4, 2013 12:12PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 4, 2013 7:02PM MDT
A dramatic arrest at a downtown appeal hearing on a proposed massage parlour has resulted in delays, and proceedings have been delayed for several weeks.
The hearing was scheduled for Thursday, before the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board – over the location of a proposed massage parlour, slated to open its doors on 118 Avenue and 87 Street.
Its location quickly sparked strong opposition, as it happens to be just a few doors down from Crystal Kids, a youth centre focused on keeping kids out of at-risk lifestyles.
However, the proceedings were interrupted Thursday, after police arrested a man who was at the hearing.
CTV News learned at the scene that Simon Shum, 55, had been arrested and charged with living off the avails of prostitution – police said they had been searching for him for some time as part of a human trafficking investigation that was not connected to the massage parlour.
Police were not expecting to see Shum at the hearing.
Shum had been at the hearing with the owner of the massage parlour, a woman named Ha Yung Tso – and was reportedly acting as her translator.
As a result of the arrest, the hearing was moved, due to communication barriers with the owner.
Although the arrest was not directly connected to the massage parlour, officials with Crystal Kids said it’s drawing a connection to the sex trade.
“That indicates there’s some involvement with the sex trade,” Bryan LaFleche with Crystal Kids said. “If it walks like a duck, and it quacks – and it quacked pretty loud today – it’s a duck.”
Crystal Kids Executive Director Miri Peterson planned to present a petition against the business Thursday.
Peterson said the community surrounding 118 Avenue has been working to clean up the neighbourhood over the years – but adding a massage parlour would be a major step backward for the community as a whole.
“With that type of establishment next to us, the clients that would come to that establishment seeking that type of service would pose an exponentially greater risk to our youth, soliciting our youth and our staff,” Peterson said. “That has happened in the past.”
Peterson said more than 12,000 signatures had been collected already – and with the delay, supporters said they would continue to gather signatures.
The hearing was rescheduled to May 2.
With files from Veronica Jubinville