Massage parlour meets unhappy ending after council raids

Massage parlour Health One has been shut down by Tower Hamlets
Massage parlour Health One has been shut down by Tower Hamlets

An Aldgate massage parlour offering clients “sexy massages” and “happy endings” has been shut down following a series of undercover raids by Tower Hamlets Council.

The Health One spa at 66 Middlesex Street had its license revoked at a hearing last week after the council’s licensing committee heard evidence that therapists had offered undercover investigators services of a sexual nature.

One officer claimed a female masseuse spoke of her desire for “someone who will throw me on the bed and whip me when I’m bad” and offered a “sexy massage” for cash.

Another claims a staff member attempted to touch his genitals and asked if he would like “a happy ending” for his massage.

The decision follows months of campaigning from residents of the Middlesex Street Estate, who demanded tougher regulations on the growing number of massage parlours in Aldgate, claiming the area was turning into a “red light district”.

City of London Councillor Jason Pritchard started a local petition calling for an investigation into a number of businesses around the estate after two parlours, including Health One, were mentioned on online forum as offering “extra” services of a sexual nature.

Both the City of London Corporation and Tower Hamlets have been conducting widespread investigations of businesses in the area over the last 18 months, with one directly underneath the estate shut down last December after the City won a claim to forfeit its lease.

Officers from Tower Hamlets visited Health One in June and July 2017 and again in July 2018, each reporting that they were offered unsolicited services of a sexual nature. One said that when he declined the offer from the masseuse, the atmosphere in the treatment room “turned frosty”.

In July of this year the owners of Cheng Xiang Chinese Medicine Ltd, the company that owns the spa, were ordered to pay £3,175 in fines and court costs when Thames Magistrate’s Court found them in breach of their special treatment license.

Haijun Zuo, one of the company directors, said he had no knowledge that staff were offering sexual services and that “we have a rule that it should not be happening”.

Mr Pritchard, who lives on the Middlesex Street Estate, said he was pleased the council had acted decisively.

“What is going on here is so blatant,” he said. “As residents we don’t want to see these activities on our doorstep.”