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2 more people charged in investigation of ‘illicit’ Johnson County spas

Posted: 4:30 PM, Nov 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-15 20:19:03-05
Joseph Wilhoit
Keung Gibson.jpg
Chaoyong Jiang.jpg
Lifang Zhang.jpg
Philip Ward.jpg
King's Spa.jpg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More individuals were named and more charges were filed Friday in connection with an investigation into illicit massage parlors in Johnson County, Kansas.

Local and federal authorities executed a series of search warrants at homes and businesses in Olathe and Leawood on Thursday.

The sign on the door outside Lotus Flower Spa in Olathe advertises body massage, deep tissue, hot stone and back walking.

But according to court records, the business has been implicated in illicit sexual activity.

Nate Rivera owns a barber shop next door. He said Olathe police raided Lotus Flower on Thursday, cordoning off the area with yellow crime-scene tape.

"(I) started being concerned about my business, definitely bad for business," Rivera said. "I'm glad here in Olathe the police department is taking care of business."

Joe LaFave works as a salesman at a truck business on the other side of Lotus Flower.

He said the massage parlor has been around for maybe two years.

"If that sort of thing was going on, I'm just glad that they're gone and that they're caught before it gets worse," LaFave said.

Not too far away at A-Plus Health, a sign said the business was open Friday, but the locks were being changed to shut it down.

Joseph Wilhoit, a 65-year-old from Overland Park, appeared in Johnson County Court by video Friday instead, accused of promoting sex for sale at A-Plus Health.

"Nobody needs that type of negativity around your business," Rivera said.

Four other suspects — Chaoyong Jiang and Lifang Zhang, who both needed a Chinese interpreter, along with Keung Gibson and Philip Ward — have been charged as part of the investigation.

Ward, a 55-year-old from Olathe, has been released from the Johnson County Jail after posting a $100,000 surety bond Thursday.

Wilhoit was charged Friday with one count of promoting sexual relations from September 2019 through Thursday at A-Plus Health.

Gibson, a 61-year-old woman from Lenexa, also was charged Friday with one count of promoting sexual relations between April 2019 and Thursday at Dream Massage in Olathe.

Bond for Wilhoit and Gibson was $25,000.

Olathe police announced Thursday a total of six people were arrested in connection with the investigation.

The ongoing investigation is focusing on massage parlors where sexual relations have been sold or offered for sale.

However, it's unclear if the parties arrested and spas in question are connected.

A Johnson County Judge announced nine different cases are being pursued in connection with the investigation.

But there was no information listed in electronic court records Friday for four of the nine case numbers the judge cited in court.

The other three suspects were charged Thursday.

Ward and Zhang — who reside at the same Olathe address, according to court records — each face two counts of promoting sexual relations as far back as June 2018 at Lotus Flower Massage and Dream Massage in Olathe

Jiang was charged with promoting sexual relations from March 2017 to May 2019 at Flower Spa.

The five suspects with open court records are all due in court next week and a total of six businesses have been implicated in the ongoing investigation.

They include Lotus Flower, A-Plus Health, Dream Massage and Diamond Massage in Olathe.

Flower Spa in Lenexa and King's Spa in Leawood also have been implicated in court records.