EMERYVILLE -- Four suspects who thought they had successfully bribed an Emeryville police captain to look the other way have been charged for running a sex-trafficking ring at a spa where hundreds of Asian women worked as prostitutes, officials said.
Arrested on Thursday were Rong Liu, 37, of San Francisco, the suspected spa operator and her boyfriend Jimmy Gongyan Lee, 55, of San Francisco, who was co-owner of the spa. Also arrested were Tom Loi, 59, of San Francisco, a business associate of Lee's and Wei Kuang, 55, the on-site doorman who collected a $60 fee so "johns" could choose women for sex.
Authorities said customers paid between $80 and $160 for different sex acts with the women, who in turn paid a portion to Kuang, authorities said. There was no time limit about how long the men could be with the women.
The four face state charges of pimping, pandering, bribery and tax fraud, and Lee and Loi are also facing federal charges, according to a news release from state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The investigation, which started in March 2012, targeted the Acucare Oriental Massage, which was located at 3900 Adeline St. before closing earlier this year.
Emeryville police were approached by agents from the Department of Homeland Security, who suspected that a human trafficking prostitution operation that generated $1 million in annual revenue was being run at the spa.
Over the years, suspected prostitutes had been arrested at the spa but the goal of the investigation was to identify and prosecute the owners and operators, authorities said

The investigation led by Emeryville police, Homeland Security and the state Department of Justice uncovered an alleged network of human trafficking, drug sales and bribery of a public official.
Women in their 20s to 40s from China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Korea would enter the United States through New York and Los Angeles. The women would work as prostitutes at a circuit of spas around the U.S. that including Acucare, which was considered a main hub, authorities said.
Police said customers heard about Acucare through word-of-mouth. They would pay Kuang $60 at the door to view women and select one.
Between four and seven women worked at the spa and were rotated every two or three weeks so there would be fresh faces, Emeryville police said.
A few weeks after the probe began, authorities said Loi contacted Emeryville police Capt. Dante Diotalevi, commander of the investigation unit and offered him $2,000 a month to keep police from busting the operation. Diotalevi played along, documenting a total $24,000 in transactions with audio and video recordings.
Emeryville police conducted thousands of hours of investigation and surveillance assisting the other two agencies.
On June 5, the three agencies along with the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office served search warrants at the spa and Lee's San Francisco home and another home linked to Lee in Mariposa.
In addition to evidence corroborating the prostitution operation, authorities recovered $69,000 in cash, guns and numerous marijuana plants from the sites. Authorities believe Lee was selling the marijuana.
Police said that shortly after the search warrants were served in June, the new owners of the property housing the spa had the building demolished. It is currently a pit with the foundation for a new apartment building.
Harris said in the news release: "Human trafficking is one of the world's most profitable criminal enterprises, and it is having a devastating impacting right here in our own backyard. Each year, thousands of women and children of all ages and backgrounds are forced into labor and prostitution. I thank our local, state and federal partners for fighting this serious threat and bringing these perpetrators to justice."