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Queens woman arrested in sex trafficking cases connected to LI massage parlors

A Queens woman has been arrested and charged with sex trafficking connected to two Nassau massage parlors where two women were forced to perform sex acts.

Nassau District Attorney officials said Li Fei Leng, 32, of Flushing, managed the now-closed shops -- Lucy's Spa in West Hempstead and Panda Foot Spa in Franklin Square.

Leng was arrested Wednesday and charged with five counts of sex trafficking, two counts of second degree promoting prostitution and one count each of labor trafficking, third degree promoting prostitution and unauthorized practice under state education law, according to the district attorney's office.

Acting Supreme County Justice Terence Murphy set Leng's bail at $250,000 bond or $125,000 cash at her arraignment at Nassau County Court on Wednesday in Mineola.

Leng is the third person to be charged in connection with the spas. On Sept. 24, district attorney investigators also arrested and arraigned Flushing couple Zhaowei Yin and Shuwen Ai, who are due back in court on Oct. 15.

The trio are said to have lured two women with ads in Chinese language newspapers for jobs as masseuses, officials said. The women were instead forced to perform sexual services.

The women told officials that the defendants threatened to call immigration authorities on one and to publish nude photos of the other if they did not comply with demands. They were forced to sleep in the shops and one victim was never paid. One victim was abused for a month while the other was abused five or six days, according to previous reports.

"Victims of sex trafficking experience the horrors of modern-day slavery and the criminals who profit from oppression must face harsh penalties," acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.

All charges against Leng are felony charges and she faces a maximum of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top charge.

However, Leng's attorney, Mingli Chen, of Flushing, said his client is a "scapegoat" for others and was unfairly accused. Chen said she was told she would be reported to immigration authorities if she didn't comply with demands, though he declined to specify who the threats came from.

"She is not a boss as alleged by the DA's office. She was taken advantage of by someone else, the real illegal boss," Chen said. "She was scared."

Leng is scheduled back in court on Oct. 22.

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