Today’s news:

Flushing woman netted in sex trafficking bust

A Murray Hill woman has been charged with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and conspiracy for allegedly coercing multiple Korean women who believed they were applying for nail salon attendant jobs into working as prostitutes at false massage parlors in Huntington Station, L.I., and Hicksville, L.I.

Members of the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, after an investigation beginning in March conducted along with the city Police Department, arrested Jin Hua Cui, 44, along with her driver, Sangyel Kuen, 53, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in an e-mail.

Cui was charged with two counts of sex trafficking, one count of promoting prostitution in the second degree, one count of promoting prostitution in the third degree and one count of conspiracy, according to her indictment.

The indictment for Cui also charges Kuen with promoting prostitution conspiracy and Shun J. Park and Kyungh Choi with practicing massage therapy without a license, prostitution and conspiracy. The indictment charges the defendants with criminal activity from March to June.

“I commend District Attorney Spota and law enforcement in Suffolk County for their willingness to look beyond the surface and consider the possibility that what may at first appear to be a routine prostitution case could be something far more different and sinister,” said Sean Byrne, acting commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Spota said the investigation into Cui began when NYPD officers suspected criminal activity in Cui’s massage parlor in Huntington Station, near Jericho Turnpike.

According to the DA’s office, Cui used the help wanted sections of Korean newspapers to post false ads for nail salon attendants. When the women answered, Cui would lure them into prostitution, court papers said.

“The victims were threatened with violence by the defendant who intimated she had contacts with Chinese gang members,” Spota said. “The defendant also promised to inform ‘everyone’ she knew in their community that the victims were prostitutes. Victims also reported the defendant threw things at them.”

He said Kuen picked up and transported the women from Queens to the two locations. Both locations were “described as busy all day with johns,” according to the DA. Cui advertised the services on the website Craigslist and most paid $60 to $80 or more for sex, the office said.

“The house took that money and the women were left with whatever cash tip they were paid by the customer,” Spota said.

The DA’s office said the squad arrested Cui after obtaining a search warrant. When the squad searched her 35th Avenue home, they seized $20,000 in cash, business records, passports and boxes of condoms, it said.

Kuen admitted Cui engaged in sex trafficking and his employment, according to the DA.

She is currently being held at the Suffolk County jail in lieu of a $10,000 cash bail, said the DA’s office.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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